Young Professionals Board President
Coming from a family with roots in a developing country, Claire Swope was always acutely aware of how lucky she was. Mission trips to Honduras while growing up painted a clear picture of the wealth and health disparities in our world. Her family’s annual trips to build houses, perform health screenings, and carefully distribute prescription eyeglasses left a young Claire with a calling to serve. The call got louder when she read books like Free the Children and The Giver.
Claire chose nursing as her career field like her mother before her. While simultaneously studying for her Master’s degree and working in a hospital intensive care unit, Claire encountered a hit-and-run patient who was experiencing homelessness and mental illness. He had no friends or family visit him while in critical care. Claire was heartbroken by his isolation.
The thought of volunteering to help people challenged by homelessness felt right. Claire expressed her interest to a professor in her graduate program, and she suggested she look into Peter & Paul Community Services (PPCS). In 2016, Claire began cooking and serving guests at two of our programs, Community Meals and Soulard Shelter.
“These are just people, confronted with some of the biggest challenges imaginable, but other than that they are no different than you and me,” said Claire. “Life is not fair and society is not kind, so serving was my way of letting people know that someone cares about them and that they matter.”
Seeing Claire’s leadership skills, our Volunteer Coordinator urged her to join our Young Professionals Board. Claire now serves as president, and she serves admirably building support
for the cause.
“I am proud to be on the Young Professionals Board. It gives me the opportunity to volunteer, fundraise, and increase awareness. I have always felt a calling to give back, and PPCS and the Young Professionals Board provide an avenue for me to do just that.”
Today, Claire is a professor at St. Louis Community College and a doctoral student at Teachers College of Columbia University. She also continues to work as a nurse at Barnes Jewish Hospital. With all that, she still makes time for PPCS, and we are so grateful!