Educators and leaders often speak about the importance of doing public service and giving back to one's community. However, actually doing a public service that makes a significant difference distinguishes those with great intentions from those who have the vision and the strategy to make it happen. And, when a person who is still in high school devotes their spare time and energy to actually creating a project and carrying out a defined mission, that action stands head and shoulders above the rest.
One of those special people is Alexis Kauchick. A senior at The Benjamin School in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, she founded her own candle company after the death of her older brother, Todd, in 2011. His hobby was candlemaking and she wanted to honor his memory by carrying on his work. "When he passed away, I made it a goal to perfect what he loved to do and to share it with the world," she told Stay Thirsty Magazine.
When one of Alexis' dear friends took is own life in 2014, she decided to turn her company, Eternal Essence Candle Company, into a nonprofit with a mission to help raise awareness for mental illness by donating the profits to support worthy organizations in the mental health field. Her personal goal is to assist teens in crisis, to end the stigma associated with mental illness and to have it begin with her generation.
"My friend's death urged me to donate the company's funds to The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation because mental illness is often overlooked and misunderstood until it affects one personally. Eternal Essence wants to change that. This company is all about taking tragic situations and making the best of them by raising awareness and helping others," Alexis told us.
Then in 2015, Alexis did exactly what she said she was going to do. Between the sales of her candles and organizing a charity golf tournament with some of her friends to help support greater awareness of mental illness, her company donated $30,000 to help support The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation's mission to foster awareness, understanding and research for Early-Onset Bipolar Disorder. Alexis chose that Foundation because it was founded after the tragic passing of Ryan Licht Sang at the age of 24 from Bipolar Disorder and because one of its goals is to reduce the stigma associated with that illness.
In recognition of the initiative, commitment and spirit exemplified by this outstanding representative of her generation, Stay Thirsty Magazine is proud to name Alexis Kauchick our THIRSTY RISING STAR for Fall 2015. It is our hope that Alexis' dedication to helping others will inspire teenagers around the world to reach out and make a difference in the lives of those around them.