11-Year Old Raised Nearly $20K for Orphans One Stitch at a Time

This crochet prodigy now has his own fashion line and is using his talent to do good.

Nov 13, 2019

Most 11-year old boys love to place soccer or hit home runs. Very few would do crochet much less admit to it. But Jonah Larson, a normal well-adjusted seventh grader from La Crosse, Wisconsin is a self-taught crochet prodigy and he is using his talent to do good.

Jonah now has his own clothing line that is donating a portion of the proceeds to Roots Ethiopia, a nonprofit located in the country of his birth before being adopted by his parents Jennifer and Christopher. How he got here is a fascinating journey.

Jonah's first project was a dishcloth that he made after finding a crochet hook in a box of craft materials when he was five. Intrigued, he watched a YouTube tutorial on how to crochet and then he was hooked according to The La Crosse Tribune.

When Jonah was just a kindergartener, he was already making hats, scarves and blankets, he entered his creations in the county fair, and he won beating out all the crocheting grandmothers.  

Considering the circumstances, it felt awesome,” Jonah told The La Crosse Tribune. He won seven ribbons the next year and now has around 70 in his collection. “I’m really proud of all the things I make,” he said.

Now, he can make almost anything, including afghans, fingerless gloves, mittens, ponchos and even llamas. He can do hundreds of stitches and even makes custom orders for people across the globe. Two years ago, Jonah's hobby was turned into an enterprise called jonahhands.com.

Many of Jonah's social fans donate materials to him. “In the basement we have 20 totes (full). He gets boxes of yarn from all over — England, Canada,” Jennifer said. “I think they’re worried the art of crocheting is going to end, and they’re just excited a young person will carry it on.”  

Jonah works very quickly and can finish a blanket in around eight hours. He crafts around four hours a day according to his mom. He’s much more fascinated to see what beautiful thing he can make from that string of yarn than playing a video game,” said Jennifer who doesn't allow him to crochet during dinner.

The enterprising young man has even created his own 6-part series called “Learn to Crochet with Jonah.” And he has been featured on the cover of Crochet World according to the Good News Network.

Since his recent appearance on the TODAY show, the Kelley Clarkson show and his Facebook page Posts have gone viral after Inside Edition, Good Morning America and others picked up the local news article from his hometown newspaper.

All this gained the attention of fashion designer Daniel Sheehan, who is mentoring Jonah and helping him create his clothing line that is donating a portion of the profits to charity. He also started a fundraiser to build a library in Ethiopia so the children he left behind when he was adopted can have books. To date, it has raised almost $20,000.

“It moves me that this child in this stage of the game wants to be charitable,” Sheehan, who funded both the website and the first round of shirts to get Jonah started told The La Crosse Tribune.

Sheehan first saw Jonah on social media and was instantly hooked. It was this little boy with this little voice saying, ‘Hello, crochet friends,’ and it stopped me in my tracks,” 44-year-old Sheehan told the La Crosse Tribune. “I showed my mom and I had tears in my eyes, and she started crying. I sent a message to Jonah saying I wish he would have been my friend when I was 11 years old … Within 12 hours I had this beautiful response from Jonah.”

This partnership  has been very beneficial to both the Atlanta designer and the young prodigy. “He moved me. He changed my life,” Sheehan said. “He loves me with open arms and there’s no judgment. The strength of what the Larson's do and how they’ve taught Jonah loving and empathy is profound to me. I’ve learned to be a better person through Jonah.”

“I want to hand children in Ethiopia the chance to unlock their own passion and potential. The talent and love that came from that gift can now spread across the globe and back to the beautiful country I love so much,” Jonah  said on his GoFundMe page. He may be young in years, but his generosity and goodness are helping people less fortunate have a better life and proves that you do not have to be an adult to be philanthropic.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.