Flagler grad makes soap, empowers locals in the Dominican Republic
Dec 1, 2016
by Bobbie Stewart
Chelsea Reppin has found her passion in a bar of soap — 1,300 miles south in the Caribbean.
The spring 2016 graduate and former president of Flagler College’s entrepreneurial organization Enactus partnered with a local development group in the Dominican Republic to make soap, employ locals and empower youth. Begun as an Enactus project called “Dominican Waves,” it employed area residents and used local, sustainable products — the profits of which went toward improving the lives of employees and their communities.
“In a perfect world, Dominican Waves would cause a drastic improvement in the livelihoods of the people we work with,” said Reppin, manager of the new venture. “We don’t live in a perfect world, so we don’t expect it to be easy, but we are determined to make it all happen.”
The overseas venture is modeled after another Enactus St. Augustine-based project called Soapy Tales, a company founded with young men from St. Augustine Youth Services. Soapy Tales creates all-natural, hand-made soap and packages it with a tag that tells the creator’s story. The proceeds go to helping improve the lives of the at-risk males. Like Soapy Tales, Dominican Waves — which has partnered with the Dominican Development Group, a non-profit organization within The Episcopal Church — shares a commitment to social responsibility and helping lift others up.
Reppin said the project is about working with youth in the Dominican, like one 17-year-old who lives in extreme poverty, but just wants to help people. “My greatest reward will always be that I am able to work with and empower people like him,” she said.