Twelve-year-old Claire Schutte is a seventh grade student at Highlands Latin School and has attended since Kindergarten. Claire belongs to the House of Patrick and her favorite subjects are geography and literature (Claire says she has particularly enjoyed Treasure Island this year). Claire is on the Highlands Latin School basketball team and also plays volleyball and soccer at Southeast Christian Church. Her favorite thing about HLS is, “Lots of good friends and a good, close community. You get really close to people.”
Claire also has the gift of service. In addition to staying busy with school and sports, Claire has organized and executed numerous service projects over the past few years, regularly participates in weekly and monthly service opportunities, and continually looks for new ways to serve others.
“I like doing service work because it’s a good way to help introduce Jesus to people,” said Claire. As an active member of Southeast Christian Church, Claire serves in the children’s ministry each week by leading worship for K-2 students, and has served at church-wide outreach events like Christmas Together and Family Palooza.
Claire is also a member of American Heritage Girls (AHG) Troop KY2521 at Highlands Latin School. Claire has been an active member of AHG since Kindergarten and currently serves as her troop’s Shepherd.
In this role, Claire prays before meetings and collects prayer requests from other troop members.
For one of the service projects she organized this past year, Claire decided to raise money for an organization called Charity Water. Claire explained, “It’s an organization that provides clean water for people in third world countries who don’t really have the opportunity to have clean water. The dirty water there causes a lot of sickness and death.” So, over the summer, Claire and a friend set up a lemonade stand and collected online donations.
Claire also organized a collection of items for St. Joseph Children’s Home here in Louisville. Claire initiated the project by calling the children’s home and asking what its needs were. She met with staff members to discuss the project and then mobilized her friends into groups to collect items, which included fidget spinners, towels, toiletries, and boxes of candy. When provided the opportunity, Claire shared about the service project in her youth group and invited members to collect items. She reached out to her AHG troop to help with the collection as well. “She was able to take a little idea and make it a lot bigger,” said Heather Schutte, Claire’s mother, “So that was really neat.”
Claire’s favorite part of serving is “when it’s all finished and I can feel like I did something good.” She said she enjoys seeing the joy on people’s faces and appreciates the sense of accomplishment that comes from knowing she has done what she set out to do. Claire’s mother added, “A big thing with Claire is that she’s the type of person who has eyes to see that kind of thing. She just seems to have that type of heart that she sees opportunities and takes action.”
When asked what inspires her to serve in so many ways, Claire responded, “My dad probably influenced me a lot because he had a servant’s heart and he was just always looking for ways to help.” Sadly, Claire’s father, Greg Schutte, passed away in August of 2015 after a battle with leukemia. “I think her servant’s heart definitely is a way to continue his legacy. He was definitely a very selfless servant in all that he did and in the way that he lived his life,” said Claire’s mother. Claire said that is why the collection of items for St. Joseph Children’s Home has meant the most to her. She explained, “Because when I lost my dad I know it was really hard, so I can’t imagine losing both parents. It was a way to comfort them.”
The entire Schutte family, including Claire’s younger brother Ryan, a fifth grader at HLS, her three-year-old twin brother and sister, and her mother, believe service is important. For 2019, the Schuttes decided to honor Greg’s memory by doing a service project as a family each month. In January they put together bags for the homeless that contained gloves, socks, snacks, and a note telling the individual about the love of Jesus that motivated the Schuttes to share these items.
Claire’s love for the Lord is evident in her service to others. When asked what she would like to be when she grows up, she responded, “My dream is to be a missionary and a counselor to kids because I want to help them.” Her favorite Bible verse is Joshua 1:9, “Have not I commanded you? Be strong and of a good courage. Be not afraid nor dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Claire says she has no particular location in mind for her mission work, but that she is willing to serve “wherever the Lord takes me.”