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Today St. Charles Community College alumna Laura Helling is the director of development for Wings of Hope. An Associate of Arts degree from SCC was a first step for her in reaching her career ambitions.
She was a returning learner at the time, and said that when she was ready to go back to school, St. Charles Community College was the perfect choice for her. She was raising five kids, and with SCC nearby, she found the flexibility she needed to fit classes into her busy schedule.
“My teachers were phenomenal and I enjoyed the academic environment,” Laura said. “I gained a set of skills at SCC that prepared me for success.”
While pursuing her education, she volunteered with various arts organizations throughout the St. Louis area. She said it was in spending time with those communities of like-minded people that her early interests in theater and music expanded to include more.
“I really found a passion for the nonprofit sector,” she said.
That appreciation soon turned into a career.
Prior to working at Wings of Hope, she was executive director of the Foundry Art Centre, and was cultural arts supervisor for the City of St. Peters Cultural Arts Center, helping the organization to grow and coordinating grassroots efforts to establish local interest in the arts. “They are visionary,” she said.
As director of development for Wings of Hope, she is responsible for fundraising and donor relations. Wings of Hope has 157 bases of operations in 47 countries around the globe. In August of 2015 Laura spent 12 days in Cambodia visiting education field sites for the company.
Laura served on the Arts and Culture Commission with the City of St. Charles. She is a founding board member of Riverside Shakespeare Theatre Co. (responsible for producing the St. Charles Shakespeare in the Park event), a board member for the Festival of the Little Hills, a member of the Association for Fundraising Professionals and is a member of Lambert Airport’s Art Advisory Committee.
“I love what I’m doing now,” she said. “I also feel it’s important to give back.”
Laura hopes to someday pursue her doctorate in education. “Someday I would love to teach,” she said. “There were many teachers who helped guide me to where I am today. I enjoy what I’m doing so much and I hope to pass along those opportunities to others.”
Last updated: March 3, 2016