By taking small steps, we can achieve great goals. Children have the innate urge to help those in need, so their pure love and courage to pursue their dreams are often all it takes to make a difference in the world we live in.
After learning about the Australian bushfires, Owen Colley, a 6-year-old from Hingham, Massachusetts, got very upset and asked his mother if the fire hurt any animals.
When she confirmed, he left the room and drew a picture of a kangaroo, a koala and a dingo in the rain.
His mom later explained that the drawing represented his wish for Australia, a wish for rain and wildfire relief.
Caitlin Colley said:
“It was really the first time Owen had made a wish for something other than Lego or something other than himself. We asked him if he wanted to help and … together we came up with this. We could make some clay koalas and give them in response to donations from friends and family.”
The kind-hearted boy started making little clay koalas, and his Owen parents set up a way for people to donate to Wildlife Rescue South Coast, a wildlife rescue group in New South Wales.
Each person that donates $50 or more, receives one of Owen’s koalas, and business is booming! As a result, the family launched a GoFundMe campaign. So far, Owen has managed to raise more than $243,000!
On the GoFundMe page, his parents wrote:
“When he reached his initial goal of $1000 and started getting attention from local newspapers, we set an ambitious new goal of $5000 and initiated this GoFundMe campaign. Never in a million years did we expect to be so successful or meet and hear from so many amazing people -- you’re the world’s best!
Donations will be going to Wildlife Rescue South Coast Inc who are currently building aviaries, boxes, and enclosures for displaced animals and helping individuals set up feeding stations on their properties, so animals whose homes and food sources have been destroyed have somewhere to go.”
The kindergartner knows a lot about Australia and the animals there, as his father, Simon, grew up in the suburbs of Sydney and Owen even lived in Australia for a few months when he was a toddler.
His mother explains that he is very proud of the fact that he lived there.
“I want them to know more about Australia and I want them to know more about what animals are in Australia.”
When Owen told his mother that he wanted to go back, she explained that it wasn’t a good time to go because of the fires.
The boy enjoys working with clay, so after his mom sketched the koala, they created the design for the clay creatures.
Each koala is made in 3-4 minutes, and making its head is Owen’s favorite part. He uses silver Sculpey clay to make the head and body, then adds white clay for the ears and black clay for the face.
Net, the koalas are baked in the oven at 275 degrees for about 17 minutes.
After making 55 Owen’s clay koalas, he ran out of clay, as his mom has bought all the Sculpey clay she could find within a 20-mile radius.
“We’re seeing all of the donations coming in and we’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, we don’t have the clay. We have every intention to fulfill every koala, it just won’t happen by tomorrow. It’s a 6-year-old using his little hands to make the spaces and the ears, so it does take time.”
Colley added that the donations they receive range from $5 to up to $150, and come in from people from about every US state.
Owen’s parents explained the campaign to their son so he can understand it- every $25 raised helped feed a joey for a month, and so far, they have helped hundreds of them.
The little hero explained that he started the fundraiser for one simple reason: “Because I like animals.” He added that he is especially fond of koalas “because they climb in trees.”
His mother concluded:
“Anyone can make a difference and when we come together we can make an even bigger difference. I just love the idea that maybe other kids can take this to their communities and sell little clay koalas locally and raise money for this great cause.”
Here you can watch the video: A 6-Year-Old Is Making Clay Koalas To Raise Money For The Australian Fires