A former CFL player is relishing in his new found opportunity to be a role model for Indigenous youth.

JR LaRose was a motivational speaker for the Future is Yours Expo on Tuesday in Saskatoon.

LaRose is a Grey Cup champion winning the prestigious Canadian football title in 2011 with the B.C. Lions.

LaRose, originally from One Arrow First Nation, shared his story to a packed room of high school students during Tuesday’s expo. He spoke on his mother’s experience in residential schools, his experiences with abuse growing up and how he overcame that to find a career in professional football.

In the end LaRose says he hopes he brought the youth at the expo a sense of hope.

“I just know that my story resonates with a lot of what these kids are being faced with and at the end of the day if I can instill hope and be a light…then that’s what my real purpose is,” he said.

Nearly 1,600 people were on hand for the one day expo hosted by the Saskatoon Tribal Council.

LaRose had high praise for the event.

“We need a lot more events like this,” he said. “Because I believe people will leave here feeling inspired and I think at the end of the day that’s the goal.”

The aim of the expo is to give the students an opportunity to explore possible future careers in a variety of different fields.

This year was the fourth year STC has hosted the event.

(PHOTO: JR LaRose speaking at the Future is Yours Expo in Saskatoon.  Photo by Joel Willick)