Best of America

Inspiring Children at the Urban Studio Café

Inspiring Children at the Urban Studio Café© 2011 Tamara Reynolds

Our hero: Claire Wolff, 25

Where she lives: St. Louis, Missouri

Who she helps: Urban Studio Café

At 21, Claire Wolff was teaching high school students photography in a diverse neighborhood of St. Louis. She adored the kids, but she was disturbed by the lack of reliable job opportunities for them after they graduated. With financial backing from Washington University in St. Louis and Kaldi’s, a local coffee company, she bought a spot in a ground floor art studio and, in 2009, opened a coffee and sandwich shop, thinking this was one way she might help the neighborhood. The Urban Studio Café now employs five neighborhood kids and hosts classes and workshops on printmaking, nutrition, and financial literacy. “It’s been a good way to address the issues these kids are facing,” says Wolff, who recently earned a master’s in social work. “They get work skills, express their creativity, and build relationships with their neighbors.”

Wolff spends much of her time writing grants to keep the café afloat, but she also makes a mean latte and loves chatting it up with the customers. “They take out the trash, bring flowers from their gardens, and throw their parties here,” she says. “It’s a pretty magical thing.”

Know a local hero? Visit American Towns to submit your nomination: americantowns.com/powerofone.

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you the newsletter each week, and we may also send you occasional special offers from Reader's Digest. For more information please read our privacy policy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram

@kristencarney

A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.

@sixthformpoet

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.

From clientsfromhell.net

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”

@NicCageMatch

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 
—Alcohol

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.

Fields marked with an * are required
Foods That Harm Foods That HealWant a Free eBook?
FOODS THAT HARM, FOODS THAT HEAL offers important information about the role diet plays in the struggle against heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other serious illnesses. Answer the question below to receive your FREE digital eBook.

Someone in my household experiences the following conditions:

Send me a link to download FOODS THAT HARM, FOODS THAT HEAL:
By clicking below, I agree to the Trusted Media Brands Privacy Policy