A kindhearted six-year-old boy has raised $20,000 for the Australian bushfires by making adorable clay koalas.
A little boy has gone above and beyond in helping those affected in the Australian bushfires, by raising money for the important issue through using his creativity skills in clay.
Owen Colley from Hingham, Massachusetts, was extremely troubled when he heard about the damage the Australian bushfires have caused. So when he asked his mum, Caitlyn, if any animals had been hurt in the fires and she said yes, he knew that something had to be done – and fast.
Immediately after this conversation, Caitlyn said that Owen went straight to his bedroom and drew a picture of a kangaroo, a koala and a dingo in the rain. This picture was a representation of Owen’s wish for Australia, as he hoped for rain and wildfire relief for the people and animals who had been affected.
Caitlyn told CNN on Tuesday: “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.”
This was an issue that represented a lot to Owen because he had a connection to Australia that made him happy and with the fires, it was no longer the same. His dad, Simon, grew up there and when Owen was little he spent a few months there as a toddler. He had always talked about missing it and wanted to go back there, but Owen’s mum had to tell him that due to the fires, it wasn’t the best time to make such a journey.
“He has a pull to Australia,” Caitlyn commented. “He’s very proud of the fact that he lived there. I don’t think he remembers any of it but he’s proud of it.”
As Owen had already shown a passion for making things out of clay, his parents thought this would be a lovely way of combining his passion with his mission. So Caitlyn sketched out some clay koalas, which is an iconic Australian animal, and together they set to work on making the clay koalas for charity.
For each koala to be made, it usually only took the pair three to four minutes. With Owen’s favourite part being making the koala head.
To make the koala’s head and body, Owen used silver Sculpey clay and added white clay to make the ears appear fluffy and black clay was used to give the animal facial features.
Baked in the oven at 275 degrees and taking 17 minutes to heat up and firm, Owen named them Owen’s clay koalas.
In total, Owen has made 55 clay koalas and the only reason he has stopped is that he has run out of clay! His mum had travelled a 20-mile radius and grabbed every bit of Sculpey clay she could find and for now, they’re waiting for the delivery of more clay until they can make any more.
“We’re seeing all of the donations coming in and we’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, we don’t have the clay,'” Caitlyn said. “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.”
So far, donations have ranged from $5 up to $150, with orders coming from every state in the US.
Owen’s parents have set up a way for people to donate to Wildlife Rescue South Coast, which is a wildlife rescue group in New South Wales. For anyone who makes a donation of over $50 or more, they will receive one of Owen’s adorable clay koalas.
As of Tuesday evening, Owen’s hard work has raised over $20,000 for the rescue group in just one week! It all began with $1,000 in donations via Venmo in an Instagram post, which had been their original fundraising goal. The mission has gotten so big, the Coley family has decided to launch a GoFundMe page.
Owen doesn’t really understand the fundraising process but knows that his dedication has paid off! His parents have explained that for every $25 donated, a joey (Aussie slang for a baby kangaroo) will be fed for a month and thanks to Owen’s fantastic idea, so many young kangaroos have been guaranteed food to help them now that their homes have been destroyed.
The Colley family hope that they have inspired other adults and children to find their own to help those affected by the bushfires.
“Anyone can make a difference and when we come together we can make an even bigger difference,” Caitlyn said. “I just I 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.”
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