Summit County eighth-grader Heather Johnston has taken on quite the project: She's organized a free screening of "Tony," a documentary about a boy growing up in war-torn Africa, for Oct. 13 at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center.
The movie is being shown by an organization called Invisible Children, which uses film, creativity and social action to end the use of child soldiers and restore central African communities to peace and prosperity. The showing is part of the nonprofit's Frontline Tour, in which individuals all over the country are organizing screenings in their hometowns.
About six months ago, Johnston saw a profile about the organization on the news.
"They were asking for micro-donations of $25. They said if just 1 percent of the people watching the program donated the $25, they would be able to turn the tables on the war," she said.
So Johnston donated and signed up for the nonprofits email list. She later received a mass message asking people to book a screening. "I decided I wanted one here so I booked one," she said.
Johnston secured the Riverwalk Center for the event; Slifer, Smith and Frampton Real Estate paid the $500 booking fee. The middle-schooler also presented her efforts to the Breckenridge Town Council members on Sept. 27, and they were all very supportive.
"I'm really trying to just raise awareness in the general public. The organization is called Invisible Children because these wars have been invisible for so long, and people aren't realizing the wars are happening and especially that they're affecting these children and orphans," Johnston said.
This is the first time Johnston has been involved with a nonprofit. "My friends have all been really eager to help out - my parents have been too... they're happy I'm doing it."
Representatives from the organization are running next week's screening, but Johnston will be on the sidelines. There will also be a speaker from Uganda.
While the event is free to the public, the organization will be selling various items and accepting donations in cash, check and credit to help out with its cause. There will be light refreshments, door prizes - including gift certificates from local businesses - and, childcare for children younger than 10.