A passionate animal enthusiast, Al­yssa Barry says her goal is to rescue and help as many abused, aban­doned and neglected farm animals as possible. To further that mission, she founded a nonprofit organization called Alyssa’s Animal Sanctuary.

“After surviving a heart attack at age 26, I thought, ‘Wouldn’t anyone start an animal sanctuary and spend their days rescuing animals if they could?”‘ she says. “I realized that having loads of startup money wasn’t as important as doing what you truly love every day.”

Born and raised in Naples, Barry wants to provide a positive space to experience a meaningful connection while teaching love and compassion for all animals. Her goal is to keep growing while getting the community more involved in her mission to save more animals in need.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

When I told my grandfather about my dream of starting a nonprofit animal sanctuary, he said, “Doing something you really love every day is so important and so many people forget that.” This seemed very fitting for me.