Animals

11-Year-Old Hailed as a 'Young Hero' for Her Activism to Save Gorillas

When she learned that the animals she loved were dying off at an alarming rate, she knew she had to do something about it.


Addy Barrett has been fighting to save the endangered mountain gorilla since she was in the first grade. She's held lemonade stands and bake sales to sell "Gorilla Goodies." She also designs t-shirts and holds an annual "Gorilla Gala" to raise funds for charities that work to save gorillas in the wild.

The 11-year-old was inspired to help wild gorillas after reading a book on primates and finding out how smart they are and how they interact with humans. When she learned that they were being poached and killed for reasons she felt were "unnecessary," she decided to do something about it.

With the help of her mother, Addy manages a Facebook page, Gorilla Heroes , to raise awareness and share news on the fundraisers she takes part in each year. For example, one of her first ideas was a #GorillaPie challenge, where anyone who donates $5 or more can suggest a pie topping/mix-in for a pie that Addy will get smashed in the face with. This year, as a new incentive, she's included her family members in the pie-in-the-face smashing once donations reach a certain amount.

Check out a video from last year's #GorillaPie challenge:

Addy was recently awarded the 2019 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes Award. The award recognizes inspirational young people from diverse backgrounds in North America who have made a positive impact on people, their communities and the environment. As part of the award she got $10,000, which she will donate $500 to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and The Ellen Fund. She'll use the rest of the money to put toward going to college.

While the effort to save gorillas from the harms of poaching and deforestation can seem overwhelming, Addy offers the following tips to do your part to keep the primate population on the rise:

  • Recycle old cell phones (mining for the Coltan mineral that is used to make cellphones is destroying gorilla habitats)
  • Buy sustainable palm oil
  • Recycle and buy recyclable paper goods
  • Go meatless one day a week (or more!)
  • Plant a tree

You can also consider donating to one of Addy's preferred charities:

Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International

The Ellen Fund

Addy's #GorillaPie challenge ended on September 23 rd , but you can still donate to her fundraiser online . Also, be sure to follow the Gorilla Heroes Facebook page for updates on next year's challenge and information on other ways to contribute.

Do you know of a hero that deserves to be celebrated? Sign up and sign in to tell the world all about it. Let's "Start something good" together.

(Source: images & video Gorilla Heroes Facebook )

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