Jonah Larson, a 13-year-old crochet prodigy from La Crosse, Wisconsin, recently won the Junior Achievement of Wisconsin $10,000 scholarship for his business, Jonah’s Hands. His live presentation in front of the panel and virtual audience was so engaging, he was also awarded an additional $500 for the Russ Darrow Automotive Group Viewer’s Choice Award. “I was so glad I was able to do it even with COVID,” Larson said of the experience. “I was thankful for the opportunity to meet the judges and Mr. Culver. It helped me grow a lot in terms of presenting, and the scholarship will go so far in helping me in my future.”
His impressive business includes crochet kits, tutorials, DVDs, books, and hand-made crochet items from Johan himself (although these sell out minutes after they are added to the website). While a skilled crocheter, Jonah is quick to point out the main goal of his business. “I have worked on more challenging designs and projects and ways to challenge myself,” he said. “I’ve improved because I found my way to use crochet as a platform to connect the world one stitch at a time and give back.” Giving back includes funding and successfully building a library and fully-stocked science lab in the small village in Ethiopia where he was born. He is currently working on building bathrooms in the school.
Larson’s influence spans the country and beyond. He is well known in the crochet world, gracing covers of magazines and newspapers. From the Today Show to PEOPLE Magazine, he has participated in interviews and talk shows and is a well-known guest correspondent and friend of the Drew Barrymore Show.
When asked about how school is going during the pandemic, he said it was going extremely well. “I maintain stellar, straight-A grades. Virtual is fine--I can move at my own pace, and get my work done and always have time for crochet,” he said. He completes his usual five to ten crochet items per day.
Larson emphasizes the idea that crochet is very therapeutic, and while starting something new may be frustrating, he highly recommends anyone new to the activity to start with a simple project. He offers plenty of support through his crochet kits, which include everything needed to get started. For more information, visit the Jonah’s Hands website.
According to the WisBusiness press release, three additional finalists received $1,500 scholarships; Carter VanHaren, 17, of Brookfield; Madison Russell, 17, of Shullsburg; and Tessa Gehri, 17, of Wonewoc. The judges were impressed by the creative business solutions presented by the finalists and applauded their efforts to help others.