Boy Makes Clay Koalas To Raise Money For Australian Wildlife
When he saw how badly the animals were struggling after the fires, he put his hands (and his heart) to good use.
A 6-year-old in in Hingham, MA is doing his part to help animals that live on the other side of the world.
When Owen Colley saw how terrible the devastation has been for the animals affected by fires in Australia, he drew a picture and made a wish. The picture was a koala, kangaroo and dingo in the rain. His wish was for rain and relief for the wildlife.
“It was really the first time Owen had made a wish for something other than Lego or something other than himself," Caitlin, Owen's mom, told CNN. '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."
Owen's dad is from Australia, and Owen actually lived there for a few months when he was a toddler, so the situation was personal. He started making the koalas right away.
What started with an Instagram post linked to a Venmo account to try and raise $1,000 for wildlife relief has turned into a full-blown, international fundraising effort. After Owen's story went viral, his parents set up a GoFundMe page. At the time this article was written the total was over 100K!
Owen says he's thrilled to have gotten donations from all “fifty nifty United States," along with several other countries. The funds will go to Wildlife Rescue South Coast, Inc. to help with feeding animals, building aviaries and other enclosures and helping people to set up feeding stations on their properties for displaced animals. According to the GoFundMe page, Owen has raised enough money to feed 2,200 joeys for a month.
“We're seeing all of the donations coming in and we're like, 'Oh my gosh, we don't have the clay,'" Caitlin told CNN . "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."
When asked why he chose to make koalas, his response was, “They climb and I love to climb."
Owen's family hopes their son's project will inspire other kids to dream big and help those affected by the fires.
"Anyone can make a difference and when we come together we can make an even bigger difference," Caitlin 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."
Kudos to Owen for using his love of animals and art to make a difference. We're sure he'll be busy making koalas for the days (and weeks) to come.
You can donate to Owen's GoFundMe page by clicking here .