The first thing you notice about Claire is that she puts you at ease. She is thoughtful and unassuming and has a way of making you feel as though you’re the center of the universe. Time with Claire seems to pass by unnoticed, because there’s no place you’d rather be.

The daughter of a union organizer and a musician, Claire has long been an advocate for social progress. After graduating college with a degree in anthropology, Claire started working as a community organizer in North Minneapolis. Responding to the call from parents and students for the need of a new school in the area, Claire and the community rallied to start one. To meet accreditation requirements, the school needed an art program, and Claire rose to the occasion to teach it. With her love of art and things that make a lasting impression, Claire began her lifelong work of teaching and making pottery.

As a professional potter, Claire is responsible for both her and her business’s taxes. Having spent much of her adult life in Canada, she was challenged upon her return to the states by the complexities of the American tax system. She found help at Prepare + Prosper (P+P) five years ago, and has relied on P+P’s self-employment program to prepare her taxes ever since.

Where else would I go? It’s complicated because I’m a small business and have Canadian income—nobody else was willing to work with that, and those who did, didn’t do it well. Prepare + Prosper does.

Claire has been encouraged by the support she receives through the self-employment program. Her relationship with P+P has grown to include participation in Money Mentors, a one-on-one financial coaching partnership facilitated by P+P volunteers. Through working with a financial coach, Claire and her business are guided to make smart financial decisions.

Money Mentors is helpful, positive, forward thinking. Even though I bring all this complicated stuff to the table, they’ve been excited help, and they’ve done a great job.

Claire believes people need their taxes to be manageable and understands the role taxes play in helping people participate and be healthy members of society. She is glad P+P is there to help her and others in achieving a brighter financial future.

By Drew Hockman, story collection intern