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A 12-year-old was told his woodworking hobby wasn’t cool. One tweet changed everything.

One of the tough things about being middle-school-aged is that interests and hobbies that are cool to everyone who isn’t middle-school-aged are often seen as not cool by your peers. Unfortunately, that can lead a lot of kids to abandon things they love.

A dad who didn’t want to see that happen inadvertently set off an avalanche of support and generosity when he tweeted about a lack of peer support for his son’s woodworking hobby. Gabriel Clark, his 12-year-old son, has loved making things with wood since he was first handed his grandfather’s hammer when he was 3 or 4 years old. “I’ve always had a real passion for it,” Gabriel told PEOPLE, “and I’ve just taught myself everything I know.”

Gabriel’s father, Richard Clark, explained how sharing his son’s struggles with his peers over his hobby blew up the internet over the past few weeks.

“Three weeks ago my youngest, Gabriel 12, came home upset,” Clark wrote in a tweet on April 15. “His love of woodwork was not deemed cool, nor was only having 6 followers on his Instagram.

“His Dad was upset too. It’s hard watching your children battling with life. But what to do? Mum wasn’t around, so Dad, the impulsive fool that he is, instead reached out to the lovely people on Twitter. Maybe he could persuade some of them to follow his son?”

A wee thread about a young boy and the tweet that got away. Feel free to RT.nnThree weeks ago my youngest, Gabriel 12, came home upset. His love of woodwork was not deemed cool, nor was only having 6 followers on his instagram. 1/15pic.twitter.com/FRGQ6GCMzM

— Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6 (@Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6)
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Clark’s tweet on March 25 had read: “Lovely twitter people – I don’t know how many of you are also #instagram users but I’m looking for a wee favour. I’ve a 12yr old who loves woodwork. He spends hours on his lathe making bowls and creating chopping boards which he’s sells to save up for a mountain bike. So I was wondering if any of you fancied giving him a boost and following him on instagram at clarkie_woodwork it would make his day. Thanks in advance and feel free to retweet!”

Clark said his son was aiming for 60 followers.

He was aiming for 60, the magic number in teen world when your instagram page is apparently no longer deemed an embarrassment. nnSo he posted the tweet and got on with cooking tea. 3/15ninstagram – clarkie_woodwork

— Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6 (@Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6)
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But very soon, Clark’s Instagram follower count rocketed into the hundreds, then the thousands.

When he woke up the next morning he had over 33,000 and still it kept going. By the end of the weekend he had over 225,000 and was overwhelmed by a tidal wave of kindness and support. 5/15

— Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6 (@Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6)
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Within days, that number had exploded to more than 225,000—and more than 20,000 orders for Gabriel’s handmade bowls and chopping boards.

But Gabriel was certain of one thing – he wanted to share the kindness. So instead of carving 20,000 bowls, he would carve just one special one – his #BowlForUkraine 7/15pic.twitter.com/IZznkQCebK

— Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6 (@Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6)
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Knowing there was no way for him to fulfill that many orders—or anything even close to it—the young man decided to just make one special bowl to auction as a fundraiser for Ukraine.

He created a bowl made of beech wood, which includes a blue band and a yellow band, reflecting the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

The Clark family set up a Just Giving page with a goal of raising £5,000 and invited people to donate for a chance to win the bowl in a drawing.

Within 24hrs of going live you wonderful, kind-hearted people once again blew our goal out of the water, donating over u00a350,000!!!nnThe press got even more excited so Gabriel gave up a chunk of his holiday to run around doing interviews in the hope of raising even more. 9/15pic.twitter.com/xi2rtKTKyy

— Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6 (@Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6)
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And as happened with Gabriel’s Instagram following, the amount just kept growing and growing.

But how it ends is up to you. It’s your story. Certainly we could all pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. Save the Children are already enormously grateful for the very real difference this money will make.nnBut what if there was another ending? 11/15n#BlowForUkraine

— Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6 (@Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6)
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With the increased giving came increased hope.

“What if we threw caution to the wind and let go of our cynicism and really went for it?” Richard Clark wrote. “What if we blew this silly tale of a small boy and his bowl out of the water with a last swing shot around the moon?”

He suggested people pool together to chip in and see if they could give the Save the Children Ukraine Appeal £100,000.

We’re all so tired of covid and war and division. What if we came together in one big, generous, soppy, silly last hurrah and we RT’d the shit out of this and all chipped in to give Save the Children u00a3100,000?nnIsn’t that the ending we should go for? 13/15n#BowlForUkraine

— Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6 (@Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6)
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And if you do want to follow a little lad making bowls, and other things from wood, feel free to follow on instagram: clarkie_woodworknnHappy Easter to you all! 15/15pic.twitter.com/N6TUpen2a6

— Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6 (@Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6)
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As it turned out, £100,000 was not only doable, but surpassable. As of April 16, they’d raised £150,000 and Gabriel shared a message of thanks.

He’s properly blown away. As we all are. Truly humbled by your generosity and with 24hrs still to go! Someone else better set a target as we’re clearly rubbish at it! nSo much incredible kindness out there. nhttp://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bowlforukraineu00a0u2026n#BowlForUkraine https://twitter.com/rclarkie/status/1514981921411026949u00a0u2026pic.twitter.com/cK5Tm5BNLy

— Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6 (@Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6)
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The drawing was held, but it still wasn’t over. The Ukraine bowl has now gone to a donor somewhere south of where the Clarks live…

And so we come to the end of our little tale of the boy, his bowl and the tweet that jumped the fence.nThe #BowlForUkraine is off on new adventures, journeying South, but remaining in this fair land. 1/7pic.twitter.com/FibQjge7Fh

— Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6 (@Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6)
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…but the Clarks decided to keep the fundraiser open a little bit longer, as people moved by Gabriel’s story were still wanting to donate.

Save The Children pass on their immense thanks and gratitude for all that you have done. Lives, children’s lives, will be made immeasurably better because of you, and, in some cases, saved. That is no small thing. 3/7pic.twitter.com/POeJLXZyuk

— Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6 (@Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6)
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With Gabriel’s Instagram following blossoming to 250,000, it only seems fitting that the fundraiser should push for £250,000.

Is is just me or can others see the stirrings of destiny in these numbers? nOf a young boy, who, not three weeks ago, had but 6 followers and now has 250,000… Of a fundraiser still inching up and now on u00a3243,599… 5/7pic.twitter.com/YbRZXmkqoy

— Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6 (@Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6)
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As of the writing of this article, it’s at £246,711 (over $320,872). Clark said the fundraiser will stay open until Saturday.

“It’s all too much. I need to sleep,” Richard Clark wrote. “I leave everything to you. RT if you wish. Or not. You’ve all done more than enough. The fundraiser closes on Saturday regardless. Tread kindly good people and bless you all.”

Social media really can be used for good, friends.

It’s all too much. I need to sleep. I leave everything to you. RT if you wish. Or not. You’ve all done more than enough. The fundraiser closes on Saturday regardless. nTread kindly good people and bless you all. 7/7http://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bowlforukraineu00a0u2026

— Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6 (@Richard R Clark ud83cuddfaud83cudde6)
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Source: Upworthy
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