Crochet Prodigy, 11, Auctions Off Creations to Raise Money for Ethiopian Village Where He Was Born

"I love to crochet because of the calming affects it has," says Jonah Larson

Photo: GoFundMe

At only five years old, Jonah Larson found his calling.

One day, Jonah’s aunt brought some arts and crafts over to his home, his mother, Jennifer Larson, recalls to PEOPLE.

“He saw this tiny hook and he came up to me and asked me what it was,” Jennifer says. “I told him it was a crochet hook.”

Jonah then went on YouTube and taught himself how to crochet a dishcloth and “an hour later it was done,” recalls Jennifer. “The rest is history.”

Jonah quickly fell love with the craft and mastered the most complex patterns.

Today, the now 11-year-old runs his own business called Jonah Hands, which is based out of his home in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

His Instagram following — where he posts photos and videos of his work — has grown to over 175,000 followers and counting.

“I love to crochet because of the calming effects it has,” says Jonah, who has made everything from stuffed animals to hats and blankets. “Giving back to the community is very important to me.”

Jonah was adopted as a baby from Ethiopia and now helps the community he came from. He recently raised $400 auctioning off his wares and donated it to the orphanage where he was cared for.

“I am committed to raising money for Roots Ethiopia, an organization that uses the money in the very village I was born in,” he tells PEOPLE. “The kids there need help going to school and getting supplies like books and pencils. Mothers can learn to crochet to support their families and keep them together.”

He continues, “Orphan care is close to my heart because I was once one. Not everyone has the opportunities that I have had to be adopted by a loving family. I just feel a strong urge to give back to them.”

Jonah also started a GoFundMe page so that others can also support his cause, which has since raised over $7,500.

In July, Jonah will be releasing his first book Hello, Crochet Friends!: Making Art, Being Mindful, Giving Back: Do What Makes You Happy.

“He’s also been a special kid,” says Jennifer, who adds that Jonah started reading when he was just three. “He’s inspired so many people. I’m very proud.”

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