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A 13-Year-Old Has Spent Five Years Creating Paintings of Animals She’s Trying to Save

Image Credit: Instagram

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To find passion in life when you’re young is something of a gift. Many of us (me included) did not settle into a lifelong pursuit until much later (and until we’d wasted a ton of our parents’ money on college degrees we don’t use).

So I, for one, am jealous of Bria Neff, who knew at the tender age of 8 that saving animals would be an integral part of her life’s work.

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#ootd @justice PC @gettyimages @albertlortega

A post shared by Bria Shay Neff (@faces_of_the_endangered) on

And even though she’s only 13, she hasn’t let her age stop her from making a difference.

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Thanks to @danny_soulcrate_music for freezing in the cold and wind with me to get amazing pics for @naturespathorganic @envirokidz I am looking forward to seeing how this project turns out. This year I have many goals, some big, some small and some that haven't been discovered but everyday I work towards them little by little! So no matter what your goals are they are within reach you just need patience and perseverance to achieve them! #dreamingBig #girlswithheart #livepositively #girlschangingtheworld #girlspaintingtheworld #pigtailsart #briashayneffart #livecreatively #facesoftheendangered #youthwildlifeartist #tweeninfluencer #tweenartist #Bria #artivism #pangolin #kidsarethechange #livejustice #paintinmyhairdontcare #thisgirlhasgoals #paintthemtosavethem #thankful #runwildmychild #kidscanchangetheworld @justice

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At 8, she entered (and won!) an art contest put out by the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

When she found out that the fund helped over 6000 endangered and threatened species around the world, Bria felt “sad, angry, and helpless” – and she decided to do something about it.

She began to paint those endangered species and sell the paintings for money that she then donated back to the IFAW.

Bria (and her mom) set up a Facebook page where she could publish her art, share news about the animals, and help spread awareness about their plight.

With some help from Facebook and UpWorthy, Bria has raised and donated almost $70,000 in 5 years, with her largest single sale being $25,000 for a wolf painting that sold at auction.

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WIP… I am always looking for amazing wildlife organizations like @theellenfund to stand behind and use #artivism to raise awareness and funds for endangered species like these Gorillas! Did you know that all Gorillas are endangered?!?! And we share 98% of the same DNA!?!? Or that poaching, civil war, and habitat destruction, and human conflict are the reason they are fighting for survival!?! That is why I am painting a face to this problem! 🦍 🦍 🦍 #theellenfund #girlschangingtheworld #girlspaintingtheworld #pigtailsart #briashayneffart #facesoftheendangered #youthwildlifeartist #tweenconservationist #endangeredspecies #mountaingorilla @savinggorillas #girlswithheart #bria #endangeredspecies #artistofinstagram #PaintThemToSaveThem #unstoppable #fuchsiahairdontcare #unique #bethechange

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She’s created more than 300 paintings overall, each as unique as the animals in them, and makes sure that all of her donations go to organizations who work directly to save endangered species.

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"The Future is Wolf" 16×20 Mixed Media Sold Private Collector This painting represents the past and the future. A future that needs Critically Endangered species like the Mexican Gray Wolf and Red Wolf to grow a healthy ecosystem! My art has now raised over $45,000 for the @wolfconservationcenter and I am so thankful! #artistofinstagram #artivism #Worthfightingfor #briashayneffart #youthwildlifeartist #climatechange #kidsforwolves #wolfart #facesoftheendangered #pigtailsart #livejustice #PaintThemToSaveThem #wolfartist #paintinmyhairdontcare #wolvesareessential #livecreatively #tweeninfluencer #tweenartist #redwolves #mexicangraywolves #MightyBria #newyork #criticallyendangered #bethechange #paintyourfuture #ilovenyc #myheartisinnyc

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Bria wants the world to know that kids who are into activism can make a difference, and that she believes her generation will change the world.

She encourages other kids to stand up and speak out about whatever their passion is, and to support others who do the same.

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#WorldWildlifeDay "The animals and plants that live in the wild have an intrinsic value and contributes to the ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic aspects of human well-being and sustainable development." – UN.org Today I finished this giraffe because they are part of a silent extinction that most people don't know about. A lot like the struggles of marine life in our oceans. These species need our help now more than ever. Just because we don't see it or feel the effects, they are real and life on our planet needs us to make better choices. What will you do to protect wildlife? #girlswithheart #briashayneffart #youthwildlifeartist #Worthfightingfor #artivism @justice #plasticfreeoceans #artistofinstagram #livejustice #giraffe #worldwildlifeday @ifaw #facesoftheendangered #pigtailsart #PaintThemToSaveThem #livecreatively #livepositively #livetogether #bethechange

A post shared by Bria Shay Neff (@faces_of_the_endangered) on

It’s not easy, or popular, but “being true to yourself is the bravest thing you can do.”

Bria Neff is wise beyond her years, talented for days, and is the kind of human being we can all look up to, no matter our age.