Putting his hobby of making clay creations to good use, the kindergartener began making clay koalas by hand to send out to friends and family, urging them to make donations to Wildlife Rescue South Coast.
6-year-old Owen Colley from Hingham, Massachusetts, heard about the devastating Australian bushfires from his mom Caitlin Colley two weeks ago. The little boy was incredibly upset to learn of all the animals killed in the fires and drew a picture of a kangaroo, a koala, and a dingo in the rain—expressing his wish for rain and wildfire relief in Australia. Wanting to do something more for the bushfire ravaged nation, Owen and his mom came up with a plan to help the land down under. Putting his hobby of making clay creations to good use, the kindergartener began making clay koalas by hand to send out to friends and family, urging them to make donations to Wildlife Rescue South Coast—a wildlife rescue group in New South Wales.
This 6-year-old boy wanted to help animals affected by the Australian bushfires, so he started making clay koalas to encourage donations. He's now raised more than $20,000 for a rescue group. https://t.co/vB7T8rsuSr— CNN (@CNN) January 15, 2020
"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," Colley told CNN. With an initial fundraising goal of $1,000, Owen began making adorable little clay koalas that his parents would send out to every person who donates $50 or more to Wildlife Rescue South Coast. So far, he has made about 55 clay koalas and raised over $138,000.
"I want them to know more about Australia and I want them to know more about what animals are in Australia," the 6-year-old explained. While he's passionate about helping the animals who've been injured and lost their homes in the devastating bushfires, the campaign is also quite personal to Owen as he has a special connection with Australia. His father, Simon, grew up in the suburbs of Sydney and while he doesn't quite remember it, Owen himself has lived in Australia for a few months when he was a toddler.
ADORABLE: This 6-year-old boy is making little clay koalas by hand and selling them to help fight the wildfires in Australia, "because helping animals is better than watching TV." 💙https://t.co/xtAGpFLu7B pic.twitter.com/VyYN6Z0LhQ— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 15, 2020
He has a pull to Australia. 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," said Colley. Each clay koala takes Owen about 3 to 4 minutes to mold using silver Sculpey clay for the iconic Australian animal's head and body, white clay for its fluffy ears, and black clay to shape the animal's face. The koalas then bake in the oven at 275 degrees for about 17 minutes, Colley revealed. They've seen an overwhelmingly positive response to Owen's clay koalas and the 6-year-old now aspires to help more organizations and help animals across Australia.
Six-year-old raises more than $100,000 making clay koalas for Australian fire relief https://t.co/DeQdHmhgrD— KTLA (@KTLA) January 16, 2020
"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 explained. "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," she added.