Molly Skawski graduated from Hope College in 2015 with her degree in social work and shortly after began pursuing a master’s of social work at Washington University in St. Louis. In 2017 Skawski began working as a foster care case manager at Children’s Home and Aid. There she managed a caseload of children in need of care. In 2018, she went abroad and worked as a therapeutic residential worker at Olive House Children’s Home, The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London, England. She worked to create and manage care plans for youth aged 13-18 with social and emotional disorders, provided therapeutic support for youth and advocated for educational, therapeutic and independent-living support services. Currently, Skawski is working as a foster care supervisor at Children’s Home and Aid. She works hard to provide direct clinical and administrative supervision for eighty to one hundred foster care cases concurrently. Molly Skawski has a passion for youth in foster care and helping them in any way she can. We are proud of her and the important work she is doing in the lives of children.
What was an impactful experience you had as a student at Hope?
- Living and working in Philadelphia for a semester as a part of my social work practicum. I had the opportunity to live with Hope College students, as well as students from other colleges, in such an amazingly diverse city.
To you, what makes Hope special?
- Relationships make Hope special. The relationships with roommates, classmates, professors, and staff, from coaches to campus ministries staff, seem to have a depth at Hope that is incomparable to the experience of friends who attended different institutions.
What is your current job title? In your own words, describe what you do.
- My current job title is foster care supervisor. I supervise a team of foster care case managers who work to reunify children in foster care with their biological parents by addressing the safety concerns that brought them into the child welfare system. We work really hard to keep kids safe, and to put broken families back together. Sometimes, that means helping to re-create family for children who cannot go home for a variety of reasons.
What do you love about your chosen career?
- Everyday in my work, I see people – both the little people, and the big people, being their bravest, most resilient, grittiest selves. When I tell people that I work in foster care, a lot of people say “I could never do what you do,” and while I know it’s not for everyone, I also know that this work, for me, is nothing short of an absolute privilege. My job allows me to enter in to the innermost parts of people’s lives, often in their lowest, rawest moments, and join them in hoping, and working, for a better version of themselves and their families. A lot of the work feels like climbing uphill against the wind, and the progress is most often measured in only the tiniest of ground covered. And still, I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. In supervising, I get to do all of that, and I get to watch the lights come on for new workers coming into the field, in just the way the lights came on in my eyes when I started the work. So I guess what I love most about my chosen career, and my current position, is that I get to do a lot of rooting for people- kids, parents, and my team.
What was your favorite food at Phelps?
- Popcorn chicken and mashed potato bowls. Hands down. The real world needs these.
What is a relationship that started at Hope that remains in your life today?
- I met my husband at Hope. We met at a team function between the hockey and lacrosse teams, and the rest is history. In December, we get to become parents together, and couldn’t be more thrilled!
Which class would you want to retake if you could? Why?
- I would re-take my cultural heritage classes and focus more on the opportunity to learn about people and places that are foreign to my own experiences, and focus less on trying to get a good grade and check off the graduation requirements.
What is your hope for Hope’s future?
- I hope that Hope College continues to invest in the expansion of opportunities for the enrollment of students who would otherwise be unable to afford, or access, the Hope College experience. More specifically, I hope that the Hope College education and experience could become more than a pipe dream for the foster youth who I serve. I know countless youth whose lives could be changed for the better by the experiences afforded to Hope College students, and just as well, I believe that the Hope College community could be changed for the better by bringing in more students with diverse life experiences.
Hope College is proud to honor Molly Skawski ’15 with the 2021 10 Under 10 Award. The “10 Under 10 Awards” honors emerging leaders who are making significant contributions by living out their callings; engaged in the local and global community through professional and/or volunteer involvement; and use their education to think about important issues with wisdom and clarity, communicate effectively to bridge boundaries that divide human communities and act as agents of hope living faithfully into their vocations. Designed for alumni who are within 10 years of graduation, they are presented by the Hope College Alumni Association. Make a nomination today!