Grounded in Faith, This Young Woman Gives Back as Her Career Moves Forward

November 24, 2020

Brilyn Johnston has a LOT of energy. She tumbled and somersaulted through gymnastics classes before age two, enrolled in dance and singing lessons shortly after that, played several sports competitively, and began performing in Raleigh Area Children’s Theatre at age 6. In 2018, Brilyn auditioned for and landed the role of Young Nala in the Broadway National Touring company of The Lion King. It is only the beginning of an already impressive career for this young lady.

While in Seattle, Washington, Brilyn began to notice large homeless populations and started researching how she might be able to help. Her Lion King castmates, Millbrook Baptist Church family, and immediate family encouraged her. When COVID-19 brought a temporary end to Broadway and a return to Raleigh, Brilyn contacted Raleigh Rescue Mission with an idea.

“I got super excited that the Mission is faith-based,” says Brilyn. “I’ve realized that homelessness can happen to anybody, and there are so many ways to help. Right now, with limited options due to the pandemic, I decided the best way is to raise money. My mom and I collaborated with Yoga Soul-lec-tive ( to donate 100% of the fees for selected outdoor classes to the Mission. So far we’ve had two fundraisers. I want to do a lot more, but this is a start.”

Brilyn’s long term goal is to play the role of Angelica Schuyler in the hit musical Hamilton. “Lion King has been around for 22 years, and I think Hamilton will be around that long too. I believe I have a shot at it. I’ve written down my dream and created a screen saver on my Ipad, so I can visualize it every single day.”

Raleigh Rescue Mission is so grateful for young supporters like Brilyn who put their faith into action. With her boundless energy and passion to give back, we believe God will continue to use her in mighty ways. Find ways you can help.