Courageous Stories

Highlighting community strength & resiliency

Volunteer Uses History and Cultural Experience to Coach Youth Change Makers

Youth are the foundation for change. That’s one reason Adewale (Philip) Adenodi volunteers for Wilder’s Youth Leadership Initiative, a multicultural program that encourages high school students to think about how they want to change the world and helps them develop skills to take action on issues they are passionate about. Read this story »

Leaders in Community: Latino Leadership Program Graduates Make a Difference in School, Work and Life

Every year, about 30 members of the Latino community come together for the Latino Leadership Program, a six-week program offered in Spanish. Program participants come from a variety of backgrounds and use the skills and concepts from the program throughout the community. Read this story »

Caregiver Voices: Harry Hartigan Helps Older Community Members Find Connection and Support

The Rev. Harry Hartigan is a caregiver for the community in big and small ways. He checks in daily or weekly on at least eight older adults in his life. On a larger scale, he helps organize Let’s Do Lunch, monthly lunches for older members of the LGBTQ community to enjoy each other’s company and learn about services and resources for… Read this story »

Latino Leadership Program Graduate Helps Her Community One Family at a Time

Dozens of families who have experienced serious illness or a death in the family have benefited from Blanca Yareth Lopez’s leadership. Read this story »

Caregiver Voices: 'Even if You’re Exhausted, You Can Gain from Finding a Creative Outlet'

Nancy Carlson, the beloved Minnesota author of more than 60 children’s books, became an informal caregiver when her husband, Barry McCool, began showing symptoms of frontotemporal dementia. The degenerative disease can cause dramatic changes in personality, social interactions and other behaviors. Nancy cared for her husband – also her… Read this story »

Caregiver Voices: Taking Care of Yourself Can Mean Saying No

From her home in the Twin Cities, Laura Gilbert provides long-distance caregiving for her mother in Florida. Laura spends a lot of time on the phone with her mother while paid drivers and neighbors provide day-to-day assistance. In the past, Laura frequently flew to Florida on short notice to provide care and left her job because she was… Read this story »

Caregiver Voices: ‘This is Work That I’m Choosing to Do’

From the time she was a child, Jeanne LaBore expected and hoped to take care of her mother someday. Five years ago, Jeanne became that caregiver. She noticed that her mother, now 89, was experiencing gaps in memory and repeating herself. Jeanne wondered if her mother needed assistance with tasks such as managing finances, taking… Read this story »

Skills-Based Volunteer Sally Wahman: ‘Wilder Was Exactly the Type of Organization I Wanted to Help’

When Sally Wahman was searching for a short-term volunteer position after she left Fairview Health Services, she found an opportunity to use her skills right in her former office building. Sally, a health care executive, had worked for eight years in office space leased by Fairview at Wilder Center. Read this story »