Boy's Passion For Woodworking Goes Viral, Raises Over $300K For Charity

Boy who's carving bowls to raise money for charity
twitter | @rclarkie

A 12-year-old boy from the United Kingdom has turned a negative into a big positive, and it's all thanks to his woodworking skills — with a little push from his father on social media that snowballed into something special.

Gabriel Clark was feeling down in the dumps, but after a massive groundswell of support, the young woodworker is riding high.

It all started with this tweet.

At the time, Gabriel had only six followers on Instagram. His dad Richard, a successful director and writer, has about 20,000 followers on Twitter. Noting that his son was 'a bit down' due to the lack of support for his woodworking endeavors, Richard sent out this tweet to drum up some attention for his son.

Things took on a momentum all their own.

"I asked dad if he could put something out on his Instagram or Twitter. He put out a bit of a tweet saying, 'My son's a little bit sad. Can you go support him by following his Instagram?' And instantly, it completely blew up," Gabriel told People.

Richard recounted the journey on Twitter.

A couple of weeks after his initial tweet, and after the story really started to gain legs, Richard reflected on the journey. "It's hard watching your children battling with life," noted Richard.

Gabriel just wanted 60 followers.

It's a modest goal, but it's apparently a number that Gabriel could be proud of. As we'll see, Gabriel quickly got his 60 followers — along with a couple hundred thousand more.

It was like a runaway train.

It's hard to understand how internet virality works. Richard has 20,000 Twitter followers, which is a good amount, but somehow his tweet led to Gabriel getting 33,000 followers in the next 24 hours alone.

Success can get overwhelming.

Gabriel's just 12 years old, so he wasn't exactly looking to start a business — let alone a business that already has a decades-long backlog of work. But with the popularity of his hand-carved bowls peaking, he decided to do something different.

Here's where it gets really interesting.

No one really has it in them to fulfill 20,000 hand-carved wooden bowl orders. But it is possible to carve one very special bowl, which is what Gabriel elected to do. With Russia's invasion of Ukraine drawing attention to the plight of the Ukrainian people, Gabriel started a special raffle.

Gabriel wanted to raise £5,000.

A special fundraising raffle was set up. Gabriel wanted to raise £5,000 — about $6,500 USD — to donate to Save The Children's Ukraine Appeal. The winner of the raffle would get the special Ukraine-themed bowl that Gabriel carved.

The fundraiser was a massive success.

Throughout this process, Gabriel set modest goals: 60 followers and raising £5,000. But in both cases, the results far exceeded his goals. The fundraiser blew past its £5,000 goal almost immediately and just kept climbing.

It's an unbelievable story.

Incredibly, the fundraiser continues to pull in donations. Right now it sits at close to a quarter of a million pounds — more than $300,000 USD — and it's all going to a good cause. Gabriel started this saga feeling bummed out, and now he's raised a small fortune to donate to the Ukrainian people.

What do you think?

Boy who's carving bowls to raise money for charity
twitter | @rclarkie

As of the time of publication, Gabriel's fundraiser has raised £246,555 — approximately 4,931 percent of his modest £5,000 goal. But it's for a great cause and the fundraiser is still open, so be sure to check out Gabriel's fundraising page as well as his Instagram account, @clarkie_woodwork (which currently has 250,000 followers!).