One teen is helping students get the most out of their education.

No matter where life takes us, it’s important to never forget where we came from. One 15-year-old Wisconsin student is doing all he can to give back to his roots.

How One Teen Changed Lives Because of Crochet

a person crocheting
Photo by Castorly Stock

Jonah Larson was born in Ethiopia, in a small village called Durame. At six months old, he was adopted by an American family. Jonah was a very active child. His family would frequently receive calls from his school asking for Jonah to be picked up, due to his behaviour. “I was quite a rascal,” Jonah said. 

Once Jonah discovered crochet, he was able put his active mind into learning more about the art. “One day when my aunt gave crafts to me and two other siblings, and I was going through them and I found a crochet hook. My mom found a video on how to crochet and it was for a dishcloth,” he said. “I sat there at the table with some yarn in a bag and in about an hour. I had a pretty well-made dishcloth. I still have it seven years later.” 

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Jonah spent the next years of his life mastering different forms of crochet. He began posting his own tutorial videos as well as books of instructions to his social media. Slowly, it all began to take off.

There was widespread demand for Jonah’s creations so he decided to incorporate. At only 11-years-old, he founded Jonah’s Hands LLC. He started a GoFundMe for his village in Ethiopia and used his social media presence to put the word out.

As his business blossomed, Jonah raised thousands of dollars for the place he calls home. His first project: a library. “I love to read. I started reading when I was just three years old,” Jonah said, “Sometimes, I think about Ethiopia, where I was born, and the very rural area where the kids did not have much, not even a book. It makes me sad, and I can hardly imagine a life without books and stories.”

How a 15-Year-Old Boy Made an Enormous Impact

‘Jonah’s Library’ is the first library in the Durame region and is home to over 3,000 books. Its trained tutors help more than 2,000 students learn to read at various levels.

After the library project, Jonah shifted his focus to science. He funded the first science lab in Durame at Teza Gerba School, which provides students with microscopes, goggles and other science equipment. 

With no signs of slowing down, Jonah plans to keep making contributions to his home in Ethiopia. He is working on installing adequate bathrooms for students by raising money through his GoFundMe and crochet auctions. 

Jonah is yet to visit the village where he was born but hopes to in the near future. When he does, he’ll see all of the positive contributions he’s put in place with his own eyes. 

What Jonah did was special. He used his talents to change lives and make the world a better place. His art helped countless students on the other side of the world, a long way from Wisconsin. Jonah was given an opportunity to escape, but he never forgot where he came from.