The CBC news recently featured Levukas Lelis in “Today’s Front Line Hero”, a series in which CBC Toronto gives a shout out to those making a difference during the COVID-19 pandemic. Levukas’ dad Danius Lelis shared his photos and a description of how their family celebrated Earth Day.
Our 6-year-old son Levukas has been dutifully doing the homework assigned by his school and has gone above and beyond, finding creative outlets in his spare time. This quarantine has somehow allowed him to find his inner voice, and he has been maturing at an incredible rate.
Last week while we were out for a walk he noticed an underserviced hillside that was full of garbage and weeds. It is in plain sight for many pedestrians and thousands of vehicles daily. He wanted to clean it up right then and there. Since we had no bags or protective gear we dismissed the idea. However, he did not. He kept talking about it and wanted passionately to do something about it. Being environmentalists (I care for trees professionally) ourselves, his mother and I agreed to make an Earth Day project of it today. He was SO excited and just couldn’t wait…to pick up garbage! So we spent two hours picking up trash and recyclable items and making the area more natural and healthy looking.
We tried mustering local support from his peers in the neighbourhood but none were brave and benevolent enough. We took out three huge garbage bags full of debris, while vehicles passing by on Dundas St. honked their approval. We are so proud of him and his 4-year-old sister Rūta (who picked up trash with barbecue tongs) that we felt he should be given some kind of accolade beyond our own personal sticker system and kudos.
In addition we created beautiful, colourful, and inspiring Earth Day art to hang in our windows to raise the spirits of passersby. Levukas created two large banners, all on his own, to portray his love for mother nature and he still wants to do a third. His work is truly admirable and encompasses the spirit of what this day should be all about. Unfortunately, too many children spent it playing Xbox or watching TV. We are proud to show how this ambitious young man initiated a shining example of how one small act can impact thousands.