DENVER - Costa Rica is roughly 2,400 miles from Denver. But 7Everyday Hero Vienna Vitek uses art to draw people close to her cause to help the Central American nation.
Vitek is a junior at Cherry Creek High School. She is also quite an artist. Often, her paintings and drawings are scenes from the rain forests of Costa Rica.
"I started getting interested in the rain forest probably when I was 8 years old," said Vitek.
In fourth grade, Vitek started making note cards with her art work on the cover. She sold packs of the cards to help support the rain forests. Vitek calls her effort Vienna's Rain Forest Rescue.
"It would be sad to lose some place that has so many animals, so much life, so much energy," said Vitek.
Vitek's focus is on the rain forests of Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula. The Nature Conservancy helps her funnel donations there through its Adopt an Acre program.
"So, my money has a specific cause and that is what makes it worth it," said Vitek.
"It is impressive, to say the least, what Vienna is able to do, not only because she is so young, but because she is taking initiative," said Aaron Drew,with the Nature Conservancy.
"She has always been really passionate about it and it makes me very proud to see her making such a difference," said classmate Regan Smith.
"She does it, not for herself, but for others. I wish more people could be more like that but I guess that makes Vienna one of the special ones," said classmate Bryn Lasley.
Vitek's skills as an artist have grown over the years, and so have her donations to her Rain Forest Rescue.
"I am probably up to over $7,000 and I plan to raise over $10,000 before I graduate," said Vitek.
Tropical rain forests are often referred to as "jewels of the earth." Vienna Vitek is using her talents to help those treasures continue to shine.
To learn more about Vienna's Rain Forest Rescue go to www.nature.org/vienna