At the age of just 11, Jonah Larson has his own business, has published a book, appeared on several TV shows, and regularly donates generous amounts to a children’s charity. But life didn’t start out so easy for him.
Larson who was originally adopted from Ethiopia suffered from malnutrition in the orphanage where his mother, Jennifer Larson, adopted him. Doctors were worried he might experience developmental delays because of his lack of proper food intake.
He went on to prove doctors wrong.
At the age of five he showed incredible talent crochet talent. This hobby is no usual activity for a young boy like Jonah, and he is often praised for breaking gender and age stereotypes with his passion.
His aunt introduced the craft to him as a way to keep is very active mind occupied.
It all began when Jonah’s aunt gave his mom an assorted of craft items for him and his siblings to sort through. “What really caught my eye was something shiny at the bottom of the bag. [My mom] explained it was a crochet hook and that you can make beautiful things with it using yarn,” Jonah wrote on his blog.
“My mom said my Grandma Rita knows how to crochet but that she herself didn’t knowhow. She grabbed some yarn from the bag of crafts and left me to experiment with it.”
What began as a simple playtime with a new toy blossomed into an incredible art and talent that no one could have predicted.
Crocheting even became ‘medical’ for Jonah at school when his behavioral issues were becoming a problem and mom Jennifer was receiving many calls from the school. When Jonah was allowed to bring his crochet set into school and crochet during class, his parents and teachers discovered it to be a tool that helped him relax and concentrate in the lesson.
By age seven, Jonah was able to craft complex creations like blankets and decided to start entering into competitions.
After entering and winning several creations at local La Crosse County Fair in Wisconsin and earning himself an article in the La Crosse Tribune, his name was one that was making rounds in the crocheting community. It wasn’t only his age and talent that was getting noticed, but also the speed at which Jonah was able to crochet was something to behold, and he became dubbed a ‘crocheting prodigy.’
His mom Jennifer and brother Leif helped set up and manage his own Facebook and Instagram account to grow his following and spread his beautiful creations. He decided to name his business Jonah’s Hands. Soon the orders began pouring in and Jonah was ordering boxes of yarn at a time.
“I don’t buy his yarn for him. He buys his own yarn from the profits he makes from selling,” she told NPR. “He saves some money, he’s investing some money and he donates as well. So those are things I think are important in life for adults to do, and I’m glad that he can learn that at an early age.”
As Jonah’s business grew, so did his profits, and he decided he wanted to give back to where he came from.
His parents adopted him at five months old from an orphanage in Ethiopia, and Jonah decided to donate some of his funds to this orphanage as a way of giving back. He also partnered with non-profit organization Roots Ethiopia that is located in the village he was born in which helps fund education and support for children in the area.
To see the incredible speed at which Jonah can crochet, check out the video below!
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