May 10, 2022
By Arenne Kiritharan
The fall of 2017 brought forward a challenge to MSYL (Mid Scarborough Youth Leadership) that was unlike anything we’ve done before. Our passions and commitment were tested as we applied for a grant with Toronto Public Health that would allow for a long-time project and vision to come to fruition. Litter Butt was an initiative that was in the works for a long time before we had the proper funding and support that would get us started.
As we embarked on the journey, each step only provided us with more challenges; that was until May 31st, World No Tobacco Day, where we proudly unveiled our finished product, that really only marked the beginning of our story.
Litter Butt is an anti-smoking and anti-cigarette litter campaign that emphasizes the harmful effects that smoking has on the human body and on the environment. Through a visual metaphor, of creating cigarette waste receptacles out of the shape of lungs so that as the litter in the lungs grow, the deterioration of the lungs are represented. Youth between the ages of 13-21 lead and part take in multiple activities as a part of this initiative.
In addition to the receptacles, we also created a program that would be a healthy outlet for people undergoing stress, so that they can beat their cigarette cravings. LYFT (Limitless Youth Fitness Training) is a very successful program that allows youth to gain hands on experience with a professional trainer.
Overall, this journey has taught us many valuable lessons about perseverance and commitment. We hope that the project will continue to grow and improve and expand beyond Scarborough.
In addition, the youth have planned a social media campaign scheduled to launch in the upcoming months on the health promotion handle @ekho416 on Instagram