Our Scholarship Winner!

For the past three years, DECA has presented a $2,000 Young Leader Scholarship to a high school student entering post-secondary who is involved in supporting/improving their communities. It is with great pleasure that we introduce to you our DECA 2018 scholarship recipient, Tafriha Islam, who was a Grade 12 student at Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute.

This incredible young woman has tutored young girls in her Regent Park Community since she was in Grade 9. She is dedicated to building a safe and healthy community and is always the first one to sign up for volunteering in different community programs and events such as Regent Park Film Festival, Sister2Sister, Regent Park Youth Ambassador, Art Heart, Artscape, and Sunday in the Park.

Tafriha created a Bengali school with her parents in the basement of their apartment for children ages 4-12 where her mother and her taught the young students how to read and write in Bengali. During this time, she also created a henna business to fundraise for Syrian refugees. Last summer she worked with CultureLink Settlement Community Centre to develop, write, and perform an original play about shifting cultural identities, entitled Unsettled. This group of young leaders/performers tackled many complex issues faced by many immigrant families and received many high praises from the community.

Tafriha Islam, DECA 2018 Scholarship Recipient
Tafriha Islam, DECA 2018 Scholarship Recipient

Drum roll please…. congratulations Tafriha! And thank you for sharing your thoughts, concerns and future plans with us:

What do you like most about the Danforth East community?

I love that this community always makes an effort to give back. There are so many support systems for the youth in our community. I have never seen such raw thoughtfulness in any community like ours.

I also love how our community has many small businesses to enjoy, and always holds the best events! There truly is never a dull moment.

What concerns you most about the future in our neighbourhood?

After the tragic event that occured recently, my biggest concern about our community is safety. As a community, I think it is important that we all take preventative measures to keep this community violence free. Even though no place is immune to crime, team work with our neigbours can really make a difference to minimize it. We should also continue to support each other in times of hardship and stay strong.

How are you spending the summer?

This summer I dipped my toes into the business world. I am currently working at a marketing and advertisement agency called “Bob’s Your Uncle” as an accounts intern. Some of our clients include IDC, Popeyes, BOSCH, and many more. I am learning new things everyday and this experience is helping me gain a lot of soft skills.

Tafriha Islam, DECA 2018 Scholarship Recipient

How are you feeling about the upcoming school year?

I’m feeling a mix of emotions for the upcoming year. I’m attending Schulich School of Business at York University. Coming from a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) background, I’m very excited to learn more about business. Though I am nervous for the transition from High School to University, I am lucky to have an amazing support system. Overall, I have an overwhelming feeling of happiness for this amazing journey ahead.

Scholarship presentation at the market

We also invite you to meet Tafriha this Thursday at the Farmers’ Market. Come cheer her on as she officially receives the DECA scholarship.

Thanks to everyone who danced the night away with us at the DECA Retro Dance Party in May. You helped to support this incredible young leader’s post secondary education!

Yard Sale June 9th, DECA Young Leader Scholarship Coming & Arts Fair Applications Open Now!

Save the Date!! Danforth East Yard Sale

Mark your calendars! The Danforth East Yard Sale will be happening on June 9th.  In the coming months, we’ll let you know how to sign up and add yourself to the big map. In the meantime, take a peak around your living space…  do you have excess stuff you’d like to cull? The Yard Sale is a great way to meet your neighbours and clean house all at the same time. Happy spring!

3rd Annual DECA Young Leader Scholarship

DECA’s 2017 Scholarship Winner Sal Sabila

There are a lot of kids in our neighbourhood with huge potential. Some of them are already volunteering their time to make our neighbourhood a better place. DECA wants to help one of them this upcoming school year through our third annual DECA Young Leaders Scholarship. We’ll be posting the scholarship application soon and asking you to help us spread the word to local students and through our local high schools… Watch for more details on the blog. As always, fundraising for the scholarship will be through awesome neighbourhood events including a brand new Pub Night. You will also be able to contribute for the first time this year by making a donation thru the Danforth East Yard Sale. 


Calling All Artists! Apply Now – Danforth East Arts Fair

Don’t miss out on an incredible opportunity to showcase and sell your work at the Danforth East Arts Fair, taking place on September 15th and 16th, 2018, at East Lynn Park. Our vibrant community is filled with new families, established homeowners and creative folks who are eager to support local artists. Applications are due by March 31st, 2018. For more information or to apply visit the website: http://deca-arts.ca/exhibitors/

Emerging young artists have a sweet opportunity! You may apply for a #FREE booth at the Arts Fair this year. If you are an artist AND a full time student, the Emerging Artist Booth gives you a chance to sell and show your art in an open market. Apply now for this free opportunity! Two young artists will be selected: http://deca-arts.ca/exhibitors/emerging-artist/

Something for everyone happening in December

There is so much happening in the next few weeks. Us bloggers will be slowing down over the holidays, but before we do, here is a run-down of what we found.

And remember to shop and dine local this holiday season. If we want nice places to go to in our neighbourhood, we gotta show them some love! ❤️

Carevillage Holiday Drive

Drop off items to be part of Carevillage’s efforts to support local households in need, until Dec 8 at The Rock Oasis,Elevated Health Associates, Old’s Cool General Store or Silly Goose Kids.

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Earl Haig Hullaballoo!

Dec 1 from 7:30pm

Support this great local school and have a fun night!

Book Reading, Dec 2 at 2pm

Join Old’s Cool General Store (250 Westlake) for a reading by author Kai Cheng Thom from her children’s book, From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea.

A magical gender variant child brings transformation and change to the world around them thanks to their mother’s enduring love.< em>In this captivating, beautifully imagined picture book about gender, identity, and the acceptance of the differences between us, Miu Lan faces many questions about who they are and who they may be. But one thing’s for sure: no matter who this child becomes, their mother will love them just the same. For more information, click here

DECA Connects discussion on building empathy, (UPDATE: date tbd in Jan)

Come with your thoughts on how to build empathy in our community with DECA Connects, our social issues group. They are always looking for more people and ideas to help make our community a better place for everyone. No rsvp – just show up!

Contact us if you would like more info

Holiday Market at the Nooks

2005 Danforth, Dec 2 & 9 from 11-6

Check out their Facebook event for all the details.

A few more local events to add to your calendar:

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#TT4T results

DECA Connects, our social justice group, flagship annual initiative happens over many months and is in two parts. Part A is organizing our Young Leader's Scholarship, which we do in partnership with Scadding Court and others. Part B is fundraising for the scholarship by holding an elaborate community ping pong tournament throughout the month of June dubbed "Table Tennis for Tuition", or TT4T for short.

On June 22 under the threat of rain that did not happen, the final matches were played at East Lynn Park. Photographer Stephen Cassie was on hand to snap some pics and in the end, the winning teams were crowned.

Congratulations to all teams who came out to play! And the winners are….

Winners |Competitive League:
Team Loveboat

Winners|Rec league:
Table teasers

Not to take away from the winners' well-deserved glory, but the results go beyond just who won. The tournament raised almost $1500, blew our $1000 goal out of the water!

You met DECA's 2017 Scholarship winner, Sal Sabila, in this blog post. On the night of the finals, Sal also sent remarks to be read out. Here is an excerpt:

This scholarship means a lot to me and my family. Opportunities such these inspire us to keep doing our works despite the obstacles on the path. Today is the end of my high school career and I feel like all of sudden, i have so much responsibilities, but also, it makes me happy to think that organizations such as DECA work hard to put smile on the students' face who are struggling financially to pay for universities. With all that being said, I hope you all had lots of fun and again, I am so sorry that I couldn't be here with you all today. I don't play Ping Pong myself in fact, I tried it only once, but I sure had a lot of fun.

We might not be all winners, but we can all be change makers. Please make sure to keep smiling and keep inspiring all of us.

Sal is right. We can all be change makers.

Luckily for all of us, the DECA Connects team who organized #TT4T are working for change right here in our neighbourhood. Huge shout out and thanks to:

Judit Alcade
Sarah Brown
Imelda Chan
Sarah Davidson
Corey Diamond
Elizabeth Dove
Trell Hunter
Catherine Porter
Jenn Scott
Stephanie Vorsterman
DECA Social Media Team

Thanks also to the local businesses for donations and help with prizes and services:

Face to Face Games
Gerrard Pizza
E-Clips Hair Salon
Coal Mine Theatre
Great Lakes Brewery
Firkin on Danforth
Stephen Cassie (photography services)
Corbin Creative (designer)
Ace Awards (trophies)

And thanks to everyone to played, donated and came out to cheer.

No photo can truly capture how much fun was had overall, but these action shots should give you a sense of it:

Meet this year’s scholarship winner


I met Sal Sabila at the Monarch Park ping pong table this week.

She was sitting on the table. She doe not play ping pong, it turned out. But I brought two paddles, and Sal is always game to try something new.

She’s the winner of this years’s DECA Young Leaders scholarship.

She told me her story, in between trips under the table to collect the ball.

Sal arrived to Canada from Bangladesh six years ago, with her little brother, mom and dad. She didn’t speak any English, but she was clearly a quick learner. Three years later, she enrolled into the brainy International Baccalaureate program at Monarch Park. She’s a math whiz. She got 97 per cent in Grade 10 Principles of Mathematics. She’s going to the University of Toronto next year, to study mathematics and physical sciences. She wants to become a high school math teacher.

The DECA scholarship isn’t for academics though. It’s for community activism.

So Sal told me about the “amazing dream” she had a year ago. It was of a room filled with passionate teenagers, talking about problems and dreaming up ways to tackle them. Big problems: human trafficking, racial inequality, poverty. Seriously.

“People don’t believe me when I say this,” she said. “But it really was a dream.”

So she drafted a poster and put it up around her Regent Park apartment. It said “Youth Council, Regent Park. Come let’s have a passionate talk.” Unsurprisingly, nobody came to that first meeting. But she persisted. In the past year, Youth Gravity (that’s what she called the group) has done some impressive things. They hosted a community potluck with the nearby Native Cultural Centre to mix local residents with their indigenous neighbours. They ran a donation drive for the local women’s shelter, collecting more than 1,000 pieces of clothing. The organized a march on International Women’s Day.

But that’s not all. While she was doing all that in her neighbourhood, she was doing amazing things in ours too, at Monarch Park Collegiate.

She launched the local women’s empowerment club, called 50/50. And she started the mental health club called “Rise Above” because, in the middle of all this activism, she was diagnosed with clinical depression.

 “There’s very strong stigma around anything to do with mental health,” she said. “My community activism was the only thing I’d get out of bed for.”

I could have talked to her all afternoon. But she had to run. She won the Toronto Youth Award for 2016 from the Toronto Police and had a photo appointment at Station 51. As we were packing up our stuff, she asked me if I knew anything about pay equity the wage gap.

“It’s really terrible,” she said, before racing off. “We have to do something about it!”

I think she might just.

Now, the DECA Young Leaders Scholarship is $2000. We’ve committed to raise at least half of that, and Scadding Court Community Centre will kick in the rest.

You can help us do it by finding a partner and signing up for DECA’s second annual Table Tennis for Tuition Tournament, happening in three local parks this June. You will play in one “mini-tournament” at 6 pm on either June 1, 8 or 15. If you win that, you’ll go onto the finals on June 22, at East Lynn Park.

You’ll have fun, meet your neighbours, win some awesome local prizes and help pay for Sal’s books.

So, find yourself a partner and register here.  The entry fee is only $20 for adult players and $10 for teenagers, aged 13-19.

If you want to donate, but don’t want to play ping pong, you can do that too by going here and clicking the “donate to DECA button.”

The world needs more Sal Sabila’s. Let’s help get her on her way, Danforth East!

TT4T: The Champions!

Did you get into our table tennis action in throughout June? Here’s a roundup of all the fun–and the champs–from guest blogger Marco Campana.

After a highly competitive table tennis tournament spanning the entire DECA neighbourhood and beyond, we’re happy to tell you about our community champions!

Everyone! :-)

We’re even more happy to report that we raised $1400 for DECA’s Young Leaders Scholarship! Scadding Court Community Centre will also contribute toward  a $2000 to this year’s scholarship recipient, Chantelle Johnson.

We couldn’t have run a successful tournament/fundraiser without such amazing community support. Thirty-six teams signed up to play, many of you made donations online at the games, elected officials participated in mini-tourney (see below) and local businesses signed up and challenged others on social media! Hollandaise even sold fresh juice and donated the proceeds to our fund. 


Our best expectations were entirely exceeded thanks to this wonderful neighbourhood.

In addition, we had so many local businesses make in-kind donations for which we are so grateful:  

Thirty-six teams had a blast vying for the title “Community Ping Pong Champion.” Three were crowned.

Competitive league champions
Glebemount’s Got Game!

competitive winners
Photo by Stephen Cassie

Rec league champions
Spin This!

rec winners
Photo by Stephen Cassie

And, the Spirit champions!
We Can Pickle That


Chantelle joined us to congratulate and hand out trophies and prizes to our winners.

Photo by Stephen Cassie

Thank you everyone for your amazing support, we’re in awe of this fantastic and generous community! We’ll definitely be doing this again next year.

Until then, keep practicing on a ping pong table in a park near you, Danforth East! 

Thanks to Stephen Caissie for so many beautiful photos!