Calgary

Calgary donor gives at-risk kids private Star Wars screening

A generous donor quietly helped 180 at-risk youth experience their very own private screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Saturday in Calgary.

Months of planning came to fruition Saturday, and there was pizza afterwards

An anonymous Calgary donor gave 180 at-risk kids their own private screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens Saturday 1:40

A generous donor quietly helped 180 at-risk youth experience their own private screening of the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, Saturday in Calgary.

A group of youth at-risk had their own private screening of The Force Awakens, Saturday in Calgary. (Facebook/Cornerstone Youth Centre)

Two youth groups, Cornerstone Youth Centre and Kids Up Front, work with children and teens affected by poverty, abuse, illness and disability.

Larry Leach is with Cornerstone and says it was quite the experience for the group.

Larry Leach of Cornerstone Youth Centre said the experience for the kids was 'electric.' (CBC)

"We are celebrating the fact that a generous donor came forward to Kids Up Front and they got our youth involved in this and they got to see Star Wars for the first time, so pretty exciting time," Leach said.

"We were able to meet some characters and the whole bit so it was a really good experience for the kids."

The youth each took something unique away from the experience.

"I loved it," said 11-year-old Zachary Gaucher.

Zachary Gaucher, 11, said the movie 'just made sense.' (CBC)

"It just had a great story and all of it just made sense. And one part, yeah, I may have not liked, but it was just a really good movie."

Joseph Legge said he likes the newness of The Force Awakens, the seventh in the franchise.

Joseph Legge, 12, liked the newness of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. (CBC)

"There were a lot of new characters, and I guess they tried to change up a few things to make it more interesting," 12-year-old Legge said.

Harlee Code with Kids Up Front said, the anonymous donor went above and beyond.

Harlee Code of Kids Up Front said the screening included 'snacks, drinks and all the trimmings.' (CBC)

"This has been in the planning for months and it came to fruition today," Code said.

"So he came to us to help organize groups of children in large numbers and to get them to the theatre to enjoy an amazing day at the movies, including snacks, drinks and all the trimmings."

A generous, anonymous donor made the screening possible (Facebook/Kids Up Front)

Leach says the youth had a day they won't soon forget.

"Oh, it was electric. It was absolutely electric," Leach said. "There was excitement, and as soon as that music started there was cheering, and clapping and just lots of excitement."

180 kids enjoyed the private screening (Facebook/Kids Up Front)

Following the screening, the kids enjoyed a pizza party and compared notes.

"Even since I saw the first trailer for the movie I was like 'more Star Wars, Yes,'" Gaucher said. 

UPDATE

Word of the special screening has spread with actor Mark Hamill tweeting his approval Sunday.

With files from Andrew Brown

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