When BTWF’s Executive Director Maya Smith read about 6-year-old Owen Colley’s mission to make clay koalas to raise money for the animals hurt in the Australia fires, she knew we just had to interview him for Channel Kindness. Such an important conversation with the Massachusettes kindergartner called for the wisest of reporters, and so, we were thrilled to learn Maya’s 7-year-old son, Hunter, and his friend, Addison, were eager to interview him!
Through Skype, the reporters interviewed Owen (and his dad Simon), and what followed was a conversation filled with compassion, kindness, and a reminder that we all have the ability to make the world a kinder and braver place, regardless of our age.
Check out their conversation below, and don’t forget to read the Q+A portion!
Hunter: Hi, I’m Hunter, and I’m the Chief T-Shirt Officer for Born This Way Foundation.
Addison: Hi, I’m Addison, and I’m helping Hunter for Born This Way Foundation.
Hunter: How did you feel when Australian animals were being burnt by the fires?
Owen: A little overwhelmed.
Hunter: Why did you want to help the animals in Australia?
Owen: Because I really like Australia.
Maya: How come you like Australia, Owen?
Owen: Because I used to live there.
Hunter: What’s your favorite thing about making clay koalas?
Owen: My favorite thing is making the legs.
Hunter: How much time does it take to make clay koalas?
Owen: Three or four minutes.
Simon: He’s getting pretty good.
Hunter: Why is it important to be kind to nature and animals?
Owen: Because if you are kind to animals there will be more life on earth.
Maya: Why do you both think it is important to be kind to nature and animals?
Hunter: Animals are kind.
Addison: And it helps the world.
Maya: Why does it help the world if we’re kind?
Hunter: More animals help us stay alive.
Maya: Why is it important to be kind to people?
Owen: Because you want to be kind to yourself and people.
Maya: Yes! Why do you want to be kind to yourself? That’s so smart.
Owen: Because if you’re kind to yourself, people will be kind to you. If you’re kind to a person, maybe one day, they’ll be kind to another person.
Maya: Do any of you have any advice as to how people can be kind?
Hunter: You start with a kind act.
Hunter: How many clay koalas has Owen made, and does he have a goal for the total number he wants to make?
Simon: Including today, it’s almost a thousand, isn’t it?
Owen: Yeah, and my goal is three million.
Maya: How do you have time to go to school, Owen?
Simon: School has really been getting in the way of production.
Maya: Yeah, I can imagine.
Simon: We had to cap the number of koalas we were making because there were so many donations coming in. So that one thousand is about a little under a third of the way there. We’ll be making about three and a half thousand koalas.
Maya: Do your hands get tired from making them, Owen?
Maya: I bet.
Addison: How much money has been raised so far, and where does it go?
Owen: It goes to the Wildlife Rescue South Coast.
Simon: Wildlife Rescue South Coast is a 100% volunteer charity in Southern New South Wales [Australia]. And they are currently building shelters and maintaining hundreds of food drops across southeastern New South Wales, and they’re a wonderful group of people. And they’re all giving their time. Even the people who are in charge of the organization are volunteers, and they’re so excited to be working with Owen, and we talk on the phone every once in a while. He has raised just under $295,000.
Hunter: How does Owen’s kind act make you feel, both as parents and because Simon is from Australia?
Simon: We’re just so proud of him. He’s doing such a good job. That’s proud as parents and as being Australian, it makes me feel really good at a time where so many people don’t know how to help Australia, Owen has found an amazing way for people to make a difference in Australia…Owen, do you want to tell them about what sort of animals we’re helping, and how many we can help?
Owen: We can help 900 kangaroos for a whole year…We’re helping koalas, wallabies, wombats, platypuses, and bandicoots.
Maya: And Owen, when you first answered the question about the fires made you feel, you said you felt overwhelmed, and that’s totally right. I think so many of us feel overwhelmed because of all of the hard stuff that’s happening in the world around us. How did you take the feeling of overwhelmed and turn it into action? How did you decide to do something instead of just feeling sad?
Owen: Because helping is a good thing to do.
To learn how you can help Owen in his mission to help Australian animals, visit www.littleclaykoalas.com or follow him on Instagram!