Edwards resident Anabel Johnson, 11, has a big heart | VailDaily.com

Edwards resident Anabel Johnson, 11, has a big heart

Caramie Schnell
Edwards CO, Colorado
HL HCC Anabel Johnson DT 2-15-09

EDWARDS, Colorado ” Nearly four years ago to the day the Vail Daily profiled a first grader with a cause. Edwards resident Anabel Johnson turned her passion for art and a birthday present of paints and canvases into cash ” upwards of $1,000 ” which she donated to the International Red Cross’ Tsunami Relief Fund.

“I’ve been painting since I was small,” Anabel, then only 7 years old, told reporter Scott Miller.

Paula Zellen, a visitor from Boston, picked up the Vail Daily and read the story on her plane ride home.

“She tracked me down at Slifer Designs,” remembered Carol Johnson, Anabel’s mother. “We were done by then with the whole art show but she said she just had to have one of Anabel’s paintings, so we shipped one off to Boston for her … she was a very sweet, sweet woman.”

Zellen was back in town a few weeks ago visiting when she asked the Vail Daily to do a followup story and find out what big-hearted Anabel has been up recently.

We visited with the Edwards Elementary School fifth grader last week. And though Anabel doesn’t paint quite as often anymore, she is still quite a philanthropic-thinking 11 year old. Last year she helped organize an African fundraiser called Pennies for Peace at her school, which raised $500. As the vice president of her student council, she’s working on a plan with fellow council members to raise money for people in Zimbabwe and for cholera prevention.

Vail Daily: What have you been working on lately Anabel?

Anabel Johnson: We’re raising money for Zimbabwe because they need help and they need money. This grown up, Thabani, came to our school a year ago. He visited the second grade to sing and dance with them. He went back to Zimbabwe to see his family and he’s stuck there. We want to raise money for him and his family and the other people who need help in Africa.

VD: Are you still painting?

AJ: For my school we had a visual contest called Reflections. I entered that and painted a damsalfly, which is like a firefly. I won first place.

VD: What do you like to do for fun?

AJ: I play the piano. Sometimes I paint in the summer, but I’m really busy during the school year. I play soccer and like to draw in my free time. And I love to read. I also do Buddy Warner every Saturday and sometimes on Sunday.

VD: What are you reading now?

AJ: I’m reading the second book of the “Mysterious Benedict Society” ” it’s called the “The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey.” It’s really good.

VD: What do you want to be when you grow up?

AJ: A dolphin trainer. I went to Discovery Cove, it’s part of Seaworld in Florida, and I swam with dolphins. You pay extra money to go swimming with the dolphins. You can go swimming with stingrays, manta rays and things.

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or cschnell@vaildaily.com.

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