Peace Community: Deanna Lentini

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Hi, my name is Deanna Lentini and this is #MyCanada

I am 21 years old, and I am the Founding Director of Fix the 6ix. Fix the 6ix is a Toronto-focused poverty alleviation project, but it is really a movement that was born from the day dreams of a Toronto girl who loves her city. Fix the 6ix is my vision to inspire Toronto to love the city back. From the time I was small, the homeless in Toronto stood out to me. I didn’t understand that someone in the same city as me didn’t have a place to sleep at night, or didn’t know where their next meal was coming from. Fix the 6ix was born from the same place that my personal concerns for the homeless and disadvantaged comes from. I was driven to start an organization to address homelessness in Toronto because I am so deeply moved by the issue. The mission of Fix the 6ix is to support Toronto's most vulnerable residents in hopes of making our city a better place. Fix the 6ix was launched February 21st 2016 by a group of student volunteers at York University. Our feature project is called The ReGiftcard Program. This project collects donations of new and partly-used gift cards to purchase food, clothing, and household items for homeless shelters and community outreach programs. We have had incredible support, collecting over $2400 in gift cards in our first 4 week campaign. My dream for Fix the 6ix is to show Toronto that our City is more than a skyline - that it is a home, and that there is work to be done. Fix the 6ix takes the time to learn the stories of the homeless community that we help, and we feature their stories on our website. Our intention is that by sharing these stories, we can humanize homelessness to inspire an understanding that this city is home to many who need our help, and that we have the power to make a real difference.

I see #MyCanada through my home in Toronto. My home is a place that has inspires me, and has given me everything I have ever known. Toronto, Canada is where I have laughed, learned, and lived every day of my life. I have spent every classroom hour of my education, every working hour as a student, and every waking hour calling Toronto my home. My home is unique, vibrant, diverse, and welcoming. The City has given me so much, which is why it is my passion to take care of it through Fix the 6ix. #MyCanada inspires me. #MyCanada is my Toronto.

Chasing your passion takes courage. It takes courage to give up a plan that can offer you security and comfort for an idea that you think could change your world. I have just completed my undergraduate, and have post-poned my post-graduate education so that I can give my time to what I have started with Fix the 6ix. It's not easy to give up a plan that others may have in mind for you - but chasing your passion means that you do it anyway.