Claire Sobraske: Changed by Service


Claire Sobraske graduated from Nazareth College in May 2016 with a B.S. in biochemistry. This year, she is serving as a Rochester Youth Year Fellow/AmeriCorps VISTA at EnCompass: Resources for Learning.


What attracted you to Rochester Youth Year?

I did a lot of service in college – mostly week-long Alternative Break service trips over school breaks where I would travel with a group of people to an undeserved community in another part of the country and work with community members there on a social issue. This overlap with the mission of Rochester Youth Year was one key reason I wanted to join RYY, but it was also a great way to give me professional experience when I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go after I graduated college. I also wanted to switch it up and do a significant amount of service in Rochester since I’ve lived in the greater Rochester area almost my whole life.


How would you describe yourself?

I’m a pretty private person. I am super introverted in the sense that I need and love my alone time, especially going home from work and reading or watching Netflix by myself for the rest of the night, but I also LOVE people. Getting to know other people is one of my favorite things about life. I get bored really easily so I keep myself really busy (which can be a blessing and a curse)!


Why do you find meaning in service?

If I have the capacity to help someone or do something for someone else, then why not do it? I’m so lucky to have been very fortunate all throughout my life, but not everyone has had that advantage. I think it’s my obligation to help those who need it, and the connection you get to make with others through service gives it the meaning that makes it all worth it.


How does RYY fit into your professional goals?

My degree is in biochemistry, but I decided right around the time I graduated to completely change my career choice and become a social worker. RYY has given me the opportunity to work in the human services field every day and see firsthand several career options I would have with a degree in social work. This year has given me a new perspective and skills that I will use in my education for the next couple years and in my career as a social worker.


What’s one fact that some people don’t know about you?

I’m a ski instructor! All throughout high school I worked as a ski instructor on the weekends, and this winter I was given the opportunity to go back and teach the young kids on the race team at the ski club I work at. 


If you could be any animal, what would you be?

Definitely a cat – I have an abnormal love of cats, but also they get to sleep all day every day which would be my dream come true!


What is a challenge you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?

I think the biggest challenge for me has been how indecisive I am in general, and how that made graduating college and going into the rest of my life really scary. I was never sure what I wanted to do career-wise, and I always wanted to make sure that I was doing the right thing, so when I was heading into graduation I was kind of stuck. Learning to realize that taking my time in getting where I’m going to end up is okay, and that there doesn’t have to be just one set path or right thing for me to do, has helped a lot. A lot of other people I know have gone through similar situations, and helping them realize this same thing for themselves has really helped me realize it for myself too.


What do you love about the City of Rochester?

There’s so much to do! I grew up in a suburb outside of Rochester, so I was never truly exposed to everything Rochester has to offer until I began my service with RYY. I think I’ve done more in the city during these past six months than I had throughout my whole life before that! Even something as simple as shopping in local shops that I had never heard of before has been really cool.

Thanks Claire! Good luck on your next adventure!

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