Give this guy a cape…

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Photograph courtesy Luca Berardi

Hello everyone! For this week’s blog, I get to introduce you to an amazing young man who in our opinion deserves his very own superhero cape.

YARH LogoRecently, I got to catch up with Luca Berardi. Luca currently resides in Kenya with his parents, and that’s where he founded his own conservation project, Y.A.R.H (Young Animal Rescue Heroes). Here is a short video he created about the project and their main goals.

We first heard about Luca back in 2013 after reading the incredible book Magnificent Kids!by acclaimed author and songwriter Kerry Vaughan. Magnificent Kids! is more than just a book about 23 extraordinary kids who are leading by example. It is a book about continual empowerment, and how role models positively impact future generations. While there are many books out there that are compilations of stories, what stood out for me in Magnificent Kids! was one key word—“passion.” Luca has plenty of it.

I sat down with Luca (via Skype) and asked him some questions about his work and his passion. Here is part of that interview:

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Photograph courtesy Luca Berardi

What first inspired you to try and protect animals?

Well I have always loved animals, and admired them. So just after I found out that some of these animals were getting extinct, I came up with YARH to save endangered wildlife.

How did you first learn there was a problem?

I found about the animals being endangered after I read a book at my school library. Curious about this problem, I searched more about this problem in books and on the internet.

Why did you think you could make a difference?

Because I knew that if no one did anything, I knew that all these animals would become endangered or even extinct. So since that occasion, I put it for myself to make sure that I can save the endangered animals from extinction.

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Photograph courtesy Luca Berardi

Who else helped you?

Mostly my parents helping me a lot with the work for the YARH organization and a lot of people that have come along the way have also done a great benefit to the environment.

What is one thing you wish everyone knew about this problem?

I wish that everyone knew about how bad the problem is affecting the animals and I wish that everyone wanted to do something for the environment and for the endangered wildlife.

What can teachers do to help? What could students do to help?

Well, teachers can educate the students about the importance of taking care of our environment. The students, on the other hand, can take this information and try to take care of their own environment from the knowledge given to them by the teachers.

What is something that surprised you about working on this?

What surprised me is how much people are unaware of the problems that the animals and the environment are facing, and especially when we work with schools, we found out that some (and in other cases most children) had never even seen a wild animal so there is no connection between the wildlife and the children.

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Photograph courtesy Luca Berardi

How far has your effort reached? In other words, have you been surprised about someone helping or hearing about your work from far away—and HOW far away?

Well my efforts have reached people in Australia and in America but my work has also reached people in Zimbabwe and also in other African countries.

What has been the hardest part? The easiest part?

The hardest part that we went through was trying to reach out to some adult organizations who are just don’t even reply to what we were trying to reach out for. The easiest part, I’d have to say was interacting and educating children and the youth about endangered animals and how we can stop the problem.

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Photograph courtesy Luca Berardi

Honestly, I could have spent hours on the call with Luca. In fact, my brother and I Skype with him regularly now because we just love his sincerity and passion. Luca is going places and this interview is only the beginning. Besides being a passionate animal superhero, Luca is also an accomplished musician, songwriter and music video sensation. He also does a great job teaching his peers (and adults) about the importance of recycling. Check out some of his music videos here:

Luca is proving that “Anybody can make a difference… if he can, you can too.” Stay tuned for more about this young man and please consider reaching out to him and showing him your support as well. We need more parents like Luca’s who are allowing their children to be the future they want to see, and for that we say THANKS to Luca’s parents Mary and Giorgio for being so supportive.

In my next article, we’ll focus on another inspirational young person who is fighting hard to save elephants. Taegen Yardley is doing more to save elephants than most politicians around the world combined.

Olivia Ries is our National Geographic Youth Empowerment writer. Together with her brother Carter, she hopes to inspire others to realize that “Anybody can make a difference… if they can, you can too.”  Make sure to check out their website at OneMoreGeneration.org.

3 responses to “Give this guy a cape…

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