Courageous Stories

Highlighting community stories of courage, strength and resiliency


Wilder Research and MN8 conduct the first community needs assessment of the Cambodian community in Minnesota to learn what they need to thrive

MN8 advocates and provides direct services and support for Southeast Asian Minnesotans who are facing detention and/or deportation. The organization recognized that the communities they serve had faced unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and knew that the issues and challenges related to immigration existed alongside… Read this story »

Wilder donor Vi Hertog’s childhood during the Great Depression inspires a life of giving

Throughout her adult life, Violet Hertog has helped others wherever and however she could. When Violet, better known as Vi, and her late husband John lived in Seattle, she volunteered in food pantries. In cities like Mandan and Jamestown, ND and Duluth, she collected food for people in need. In Woodbury, she volunteered for Meals on… Read this story »

Double duty: Dan Swanson finds fulfillment at Wilder through a career in Wilder Research and volunteer work

When he was a boy, Wilder staff member and volunteer Dan Swanson saw an Indiana Jones movie. What action! What adventure! There and then he knew that was the life he wanted. And it happened. Sort of. Dan, like Indy, loves being outdoors. And, while he soon realized real research is not the type of adventure seen on the big screen, he… Read this story »

Wilder Connect provided John and Chris Kuderka with support and respite from Alzheimer's disease

When John Kuderka was diagnosed with severe Alzheimer’s Disease, the social worker assigned to his wife, Chris, and their children shared some valuable advice. “The social worker told me that I needed respite, that I needed time away from John,” Chris Kuderka said. “That was my introduction to Wilder.” Read this story »

Artist, advocate, organizer, leader and Community Equity Program alumna Maria Isa is ready to run for the Minnesota State Legislature

Maria Isa Perez-Hedges is well known in the Twin Cities as an actor, rapper, international recording artist, youth worker and cultural community organizer. This election season, you’ll see the lifelong Saint Paul resident in a new role: political candidate for the state House of Representatives. Read this story »

Former supportive housing participant Sebastian: Looking back, Lincoln Place really did save my life

Sebastian Dina participated in supportive housing services at Lincoln Place several years ago. As Sebastian worked toward stability, his partner, Tash, was working on her own stable housing and life goals. Read this story »

Campaign for Families donor Megan Habbe gives so that others can trust what tomorrow looks like

Wilder donor Megan Habbe has witnessed first-hand why our community needs stable housing. In her career and her volunteer work, Megan has seen how housing access helps individuals, families and communities thrive. In Megan’s family life, she is grieving the loss of a sister whose early experiences with homelessness shaped her life for… Read this story »

Community Equity Program Helps Lindberg Chambliss Advocate for Anti-Racist Education

Lindberg Chambliss moved to Minneapolis in October 2020, intent on helping drive positive change after the murder of George Floyd. Lindberg, who had previously lived in Minneapolis, was exploring ways to support anti-racist education when an acquaintance shared an opportunity on LinkedIn for the Community Equity Program at Wilder. Read this story »