There has been an uprising of individuals who are on a mission to make a change, one step at a time and in this case, one bead at a time.
Megan Schott, 20, is a senior at Flagler College who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in international studies, and double minoring in anthropology and Spanish. From Hollywood, Fla. to Hawaii and Peru, her passion is on the rise to creating hope for many children, and here’s why.
When Megan was 11 years old, she began creating jewelry. Now she has created her company, Ola Paz Beads, which helps to raise money for El Hogar San Francisco de Asis in Chaclacayo, Peru.
El Hogar is a home for sick and disabled children, located about an hour outside of the capital, Lima.
“I have been a returning volunteer for 3 years now and I wanted a way to help the home while I was back in the states,” Schott said.
While traveling, Schott decided to live as a local. Rather than staying in hotels and resorts, she opted for Air BnBs and local’s homes.
“I was able to connect with the local people and find the most remote, unique and special places to visit,” Schott said. “In Hawai’i I even got involved with a local Surfrider Foundation chapter and participated in a beach cleanup on the Big Island. I was able to meet and talk to a ton of locals passionate about the preservation of their island. In Peru, I live in the home of the kids, it is not glamorous, but it feels like home.”
While creating her business, Schott set forth to donate 25 percent of her profits directly to the Villa La Paz foundation, which is responsible for funding El Hogar.
“The home runs solely off of donations so any money donated will go to medical costs, education, housing, food, everything,” Schott said. “The home has luckily built up a good system of volunteers and donors eager to make sure the children are being cared for but there is always, always a need for more aid and support.”
Schott began selling her work through her website, olapazbeads.com. With the success rate of her business, she began to sell her work at stores and at local art events such as the Girl Gang of St. Augustine. She also sold her work over the summer at various stores in Fire Island, New York.
“I started one summer with a family friend on the beach in Fire Island, NY.,” Schott said. “My favorite pieces often contain lots of color with accents of gold and silver. I just started making ‘Mantra Sets’ that are customizable, sets of 3 and designed to allow everyone to have a positive remainder nearby, all the time.”
Sharing her passion and the story behind her work has become a project that is very near and dear to her heart. Raising awareness for the home, that welcomed her year after year, has allowed her to feel as though she has made an everlasting impact, which she has showcased time and time again.
“I think this small business will be a part of me forever, I love having a creative outlet and I am excited to see where I can take this business in the future,” Schott said.
Following her graduation from Flagler College, Schott plans to take a year to travel more. It was her travels that brought her to where she is now, and what led her to discover her passions and to express them in a creative element.
“I am considering nursing school post undergrad and plan to volunteer in the home and attempt to narrow down the type of nursing I will hope to pursue,” Schott said. “Peru is one of my top priorities and I plan to live and work in the home for an extended period of time come next year! I can’t wait to be able to apply my collegiate knowledge to an area in which I am so passionate about.”
For more information about Ola Paz Beads, and where to purchase Schott’s work, please visit the link below. https://olapazbeads.com