Enza Tiberi-Checchia

Country of Origin:

Italy

Themes:

Citizenship, Immigration, Multiculturalism & Diversity

Photos:

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Bio

Post Secondary-Retail Management Arts Diploma-Sheridan College

Story

I came to Canada at 5 yrs of age with my mother, father and sister. Within the first year of our arrival my brother was born. My grandmother lived with us untill I was 11. As a child I wanted to be a Canadian and ignore my Italian ethnicity. My name Vincenza became Vicki and I struggled with being accepted in the midst of mostly humiliating experiences with my classmates. In high school I got involved with Student Council and participated in fashion shows and plays. I seemed to have made it beyond the humiliation and ridicule and was getting confidant. I had the work ethics of my parents. I got my first job at 15 yrs old and have not stopped working since. I was married at age 22, to the one true love of my life. He continues to be my rock, my best friend and an incredible father to my 2 daughters. At the age of 24, 3 months pregnant with my first daughter, my father took his life. My family was devastated and that devastation continues today with my brother who has never fully recovered from the trauma and my mother who although strong and full of fortitude has had a cloud of sadness around her soul. After raising 2 beautiful daughters, at the age of 37, I created a visionary business in Toronto's New Home Building Industry. The business grew to, at its peak, having a team of 14 people. My visionary Décor Studio and full service operation has not been duplicated to this day. I became the expert in my field, a columnist for new home publications, chaired committees and served 2 consecutive terms on the Board of Directors of BILD (Building Industry and Land Development Association). 7 years after creating my business I co-founded Hats On For Awareness. A charity that raises funds to further the reach of mental health programs that enhance the lives of those living with and affected by mental illness and addictions. After 8 years Hats On For Awareness has raised over $600,000 for organizations such as CAMH (Center for Addiction & Mental Health) Jack.org and Humber River Hospital. This charity is the fulfillment of the promise I made after my fathers death to "do something so that other families would not have to go through what we did". I am in deeply grateful for all my many blessings. None of which could be possible without the brave step my parents took to come to Canada and the infinite possibilities for happiness and success that Canada, THE GREATEST COUNTRY ON EARTH, gave to me. I am now at age 52, creating my life's work in philanthropy. Through my journey through mental illness to purpose, I have been given all the lessons I need and much grace to be "the one who changes how we see and treat mental illness." I have a vision of Canada at the United Nations, presenting what will be the template for emotional wellness that eradicates Mental illness. The world will be watching and it will be practicing what Canada brings to it, for a world of wellness for us all.