Effort to help homeless earns nine-year-old special invitation
LONDON, ONT. -- He is a nine-year-old who felt the need to help, but then Austin Levy took the next big step.
Levy put his thoughts to paper and delivered them to the person he thought could make a difference; London Mayor Ed Holder.
"You wouldn't just send a letter to any person because they might not be able to do anything. I thought you would send it to somebody in power who might be able to do something about it," Austin says.
His idea was to use modified shipping containers to give those who are homeless some place warm and safe to stay.
He overheard his sister and her friends discussing the idea of using a shipping container for a donation centre as part of their homework project on homelessness.
Austin’s father, Mike Levy, says his son quickly went from idea to action, handing his mom and dad a sealed envelope addressed to the Mayor’s Office, "He had it written, sealed in the envelope, addressed and stamped and he asked to mail it."
The letter inside read, in part, “Dear Mr. Mayor, I, Austin Levy, was thinking you should purchase shipping containers on behalf of the City of London. With some modification, you could turn them into a place to sleep for the homeless on cold nights.”
Austin closed his letter saying, “I am 9 years old and I want to make a change.”
The Mayor's Office posted the note on Twitter and it received dozens of likes, retweets and comments.
Soon after came the call from the mayor, “He said that he thought it was a good idea and he said that he would bring it up with the person in charge of housing in London."
Austin’s initiative has earned him a seat of at the mayor's table for this year’s State of the City address on Wednesday morning.
There have been a number of examples of people finding alternate uses for shipping containers, from homes to recording studios.
But Austin's father likes the idea that his son’s mind went to helping others, and that it received so many positive responses.
"It's huge because if kids feel they have a voice and they feel they can make change, make positive change in the world, that's huge for us moving forward. It will mean we're in good hands."