Adults and kids don’t always share the same opinion about what’s “cool.”
Twelve-year-old Gabriel Clark is happiest when he’s creating wooden bowls and cutting boards in his workshop in Cumbria, England. He’s been woodworking since he was just 4 years old, and his father, Richard R. Clark, says Gabriel has a true passion for the craft.
When Gabriel decided he wanted a new mountain bike, his dad told him he had to earn the money to buy it. Gabriel decided to try to sell some of his woodworking projects, so his mother created an Instagram page for him. He had only six followers, most of whom were family, but he didn’t mind. Until he went to school, that is.
His fellow students didn’t think his hobby was cool at all, and they mocked him for having so few followers. Richard says his son came home from school “a bit despondent” one day after being picked on at school, so he decided to see if he could get his son some more followers by asking his own Twitter followers.
“So I was wondering if any of you fancied giving him a boost and following him on instagram at clarkie_woodwork, it would make his day,” he continued. “Thanks in advance and feel free to retweet!”
Richard was hoping to get Gabriel at least 60 followers. Instead, more than 226,000 people flocked to Instagram to show Gabriel some love!
“Within an hour, it just started going kind of nuts,” Richard recalled. “His Instagram followers were going up by the thousands every time we refreshed the page.”
Richard says the next few days were a “whirlwind” as Gabriel’s online following got bigger by the second. Not only that, but people began commissioning work from the young man. He started to feel overwhelmed by the 20,000 commissions for bowls and cutting boards, so the father-son duo came up with a way to repay the kindness of all of those internet strangers.
“Instead of making 20,000 bowls, he was going to carve one bowl, which he called his ‘Bowl for Ukraine,'” said Richard. “It was Gabriel’s way of trying to give something to kids that really, really do need it.”
The family started a Just Giving page, and so far they’ve raised £78,876, which is $102,773!
“People have been hugely generous,” Richard said. “We’re hugely grateful for people dipping in and trying to support.”
Due to the incredible amount of money they’ve raised, the family is now devising a new system of giving away one bowl for every $5,000 raised. All of the money will go to Save the Children for their Ukraine Appeal, but they are reserving a tiny bit of the money so that Gabriel can finally get that mountain bike!
What a beautiful way to pay it forward! Richard asked for help but got so much more. Share this story to show Gabriel just how cool woodworking (and charity!) really is.
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