My name is Leon Fittanto (he/him) and I am delighted to be working with Better World Collaborative as an intern this spring. I am from the suburbs of Chicago and my interests are music (Rise Against low-key saved my life), reading, and my adorable grumpy old man of a cat, Carson. (Obligatory cat picture included here).
Also I’m a really cheesy person, but I blame all the Hallmark movies I’ve watched and continue to do so. The last few years have been a stressful, busy, and sometimes overwhelming whirlwind, but for the first time since I was 11 I’ve gotten to experience that whirlwind and all the emotions that come with it as myself, fully present in my own body, and for that I’m insanely grateful. I’m also grateful for the wonderful friends and members of the community I’ve made over the last few years.
My educational and work background is in statistics, project management, and various food service jobs, including a cafe; which has only further fueled my caffeine addiction. I am currently however, working to earn a Music Performance and (when the degree is offered) Music Education degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. I’m planning to graduate in 2026.
For years now, and increasingly so this past year, I've been appalled at the amount of people in this country actively and passively working to decrease rights for LGBTQ, Indigenous, POC, and other communities in this country. I feel like I learn something new and depressing every day. I know there's no magic button I can press to fix everything, but I hope I can help at least a little and I’m determined to work to not add to anyone’s misery.
After three years of using my statistics degree at my first job out of college, I realized that one, my original desire to use numbers to help people wasn’t going to be realized there and two, returning to the music world would greatly improve my mental health; and I was right! Despite the significantly lower pay, working at a coffee shop has been much more fulfilling of a career than my previous position as a survey manager. I could work at a cafe the rest of my life. Not only do people love getting coffee, I get to spend my day talking to and improving the days of actual people that I get to see, in person, enjoying their drinks. Someday, I hope I can open a cafe/Library using my own books and give free or really really inexpensive music lessons (or any skill I know). In the more near future, I’m excited to complete my performance and education certifications and enter the teaching world. Music is malleable. It’s shaped for and by every individual, and community into something beautiful and meaningful. Helping people explore and learn to play their own is really fun. Every time I work with a student I remember there’s a reason to keep trying.
It’s with this mentality I hope I can be helpful to everyone at Better World Collaborative, and to the wider LGBTQ+ community. ^__^.