A Laurier student’s pledge to live for love
“My Laurier experience has absolutely changed my life and has made me who I am today,” third-year Wilfrid Laurier University psychology student Alex DeCiantis said. DeCiantis, who often just goes by “Al”, is much more than your average university student. On top of his full course load, DeCiantis plays intramurals, volunteers with Enactus, is an O-Week Icebreaker and runs his own charity, Live4Love, which he started back in 2012.
Live4Love is best known as a social awareness organization that focuses on everything related to love and helping young adults overcome adversity. These struggles include, but are not limited to, bullying, poverty, homelessness, lack of education, abuse, disability, disease and any lack of love. DeCiantis started Live4Love with his long-time high school friend, Ashley Durante-Devlin. After the first year buzz and excitement wound down, DeCiantis realized he wanted to do something of his own to help people beyond what he was offered at Laurier.
“I reached out to my good friend Ashley, who was involved with an international charity that helped kids but the program was based mainly in Africa, and I wanted something more grassroots and closer to home,” said DeCiantis. He and Durante-Devlin then put their passions together and created Live4Love.
“It’s different than every other organization out there. We aren’t focused on one specific task. Since love is something that is limitless, we can literally tackle anything we want.”
“We are currently focused on our ‘Never Alone’ program, which combines mentoring with community projects, which attempts to ensure that no one will ever have to deal with personal struggles alone,” DeCiantis shared.
Despite these incredible achievements, DeCiantis had some humble beginnings. He grew up just a little north of Toronto and attended St. Michael’s College where he first developed his love for getting involved but not without some setbacks.
“High school isn’t easy for anyone and I definitely went through some personal obstacles, especially in the early years,” DeCiantis shared. “I was shy and hadn’t come out of my shell really. But diamonds are made under pressure. So, in grade 11 and 12 I found out that I wanted to start getting involved and I took the leap of faith and joined leadership programs with a few of my close friends, which I really enjoyed.”
He then had to make the biggest decision of all, one that almost all high school seniors have to make: where do I go now? DeCiantis said that Laurier was never really on his radar until he came to a winter semester Laurier Day. When he joined the Laurier community, DeCiantis naturally avoided the sometimes-crippling first-year awkwardness and hit the ground running in terms of extracurricular involvement.
“I’ve taken it upon myself to get really involved so that I can meet new people and get closer to figuring out what I want to do with my life,” DeCiantis said.
And figuring things out is exactly what DeCiantis is doing because in May 2012, he started his biggest accomplishment to date — Live4Love. “Live4Love has really become my passion and I could literally do it 24/7,” DeCiantis claimed proudly.
DeCiantis believes in it so much that he even started a new faction of the organization here at Laurier. It is called Live4LoveLaurier and is currently in the developing stages but is making major progress and will have a big presence on campus very soon.
Even though DeCiantis is an extremely hard worker and has accomplished almost everything on his own, he claims he owes some of his success to Laurier: “Laurier and the entire experience here has allowed me to be who I really am and love every minute of it.”