HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- When you're looking for perfection, finding the right combination can take patience.
Maya Mehigan spends hours commandeering the family kitchen.
“Yes. This is my laboratory. I think my parents get a little frustrated sometimes," Maya said. "It is a lot of waiting and a lot of testing to see if it is ready to be poured.”
This isn't an assignment for science class. The Glen Allen High School senior is CEO and founder of MindBloom.
“I usually make about 15-20 candles at a time,” she said. “I think my favorite is the first one I made was lavender rose.”
Maya called her candle making venture her escape.
“I love making them. Why not share them with other people," she said.
But what sets this entrepreneur apart from other business owners is that Maya gives away every penny of her profits. The 17-year-old is using wax and wicks to raise awareness about one of her passions.
“I just noticed heightened stress especially among close friends like anxiety. That is why I wanted to start my philanthropy. I wanted to focus on mental health because it impacts all of us,” she said.
Maya is donating money from her candle sales to the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation.
“I think that is what I notice. I have upbeat friends but you would have no idea they are going through mental troubles. So you have to dig deeper to find out those troubles,” Maya said.
The non-profit CKG Foundation helps the one in five teens struggling with mental health issues and promotes ending the stigma.
“There is an overall fear that someone may judge them or think of them the same way if they reveal their mental battles,” Maya said. “I think people do keep it bottled up and it makes it worse.”
Kris and D.J. Mehigan say their daughter is driven by her unwavering kindness.
“Maya has never been someone to sit on the sidelines,” Kris Mehigan said. “Dedication. It is a 24-7 adventure.”
“Just to see her grow up and turn this into a business before she is 18 is awesome. Very proud,” D.J. Mehigan added.
Maya seeks the silver lining in everything, but she never thought the long days of lockdown would change her life for the better.
“Honestly no. I would have kept going with my work and my extracurricular, so the pandemic allowed me to slow down and focus on something I am passionate about which is mental health awareness,” Maya said.
Maya Mehigan a teen business owner whose heart, and bottom line are in the right place.
“Honestly it is just so rewarding. It makes all of the hours that I put into candle making and philanthropy worth it,” she said.
The candles sell for $8. Click here if you would like to order one of Maya’s MindBloom candles.
Greg McQuade features local heroes in a weekly “Heroes Among Us” segment. Watch Greg’s reports Thursdays on CBS News at 6 or here on WTVR.com. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured on “Heroes Among Us,” click here to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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