Courageous Stories

Highlighting community stories of courage, strength and resiliency


Rachel’s journey from couch hopping to home starts at Lincoln Place with Wilder’s housing support

During her three years at Lincoln Place, 23-year-old Rachel worked hard to finish school, start a career, build credit and understand and work through trauma. She recently marked a major life milestone when she moved out of the supportive housing development for young adults who have experienced homelessness. As Rachel reflects on her… Read this story »

Tonya’s family creates a stable life with Wilder's housing services

Tonya B. and her teenage son stayed wherever they could before they were accepted into a Wilder supportive housing service for working families who were experiencing homelessness. Tonya, who also has two adult children and a grandchild, began working closely with Wilder’s supportive housing team to rebuild her life. Read this story »

Wilder housing staff support youth, adults and families as they pursue their goals after experiencing homelessness

Like many in the community, families served by Wilder have been challenged by job loss, distance learning and the stress and isolation of the pandemic. Even amid these hardships, youth, adults and their families in Wilder’s supportive housing programs are demonstrating resilience as they pursue their goals after experiencing homelessness… Read this story »

Julie Smith's daughter celebrates 16th birthday with backpack drive for Wilder participants

During summer 2021, Julie Smith and her three children, ages 16, 13 and 9, brainstormed ways they could make a meaningful contribution to the community at a time when hands-on, face-to-face interactions were limited. They landed on a school-supply drive to support Wilder's School Success supply drive, which provides about 2,000 backpacks… Read this story »

Then and now, Wilder school-based mental health services helped Sean grow and succeed

Sean was an elementary school student when he joined Kofi, Wilder's culturally relevant school-based mental health program for students of African descent. He received services to help him regulate his emotions and cope with other challenges. He graduated from Kofi in a ceremony at the end of fifth grade, and kept the Kofi sweatshirt he… Read this story »

Mental health support in school continues for students in Saint Paul

An estimated 1 in 5 young people need support for their mental health, and people of color are much less likely to have access to therapy and mental health care. That's why our school-based mental health team meets students right where they are, with culturally relevant therapy, support and resources for them and their families. Read this story »

Meals on Wheels helps Wilder volunteer Tracey Cross stay involved during the pandemic

For many, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant stepping back to stay safe. For Tracey Cross, Wilder’s Meals on Wheels program provided the perfect opportunity to step out—and step up. "It gave me purpose,” Tracey says, calling volunteering “a reason to get outside and do something for others.” Read this story »

Priscilla Villa-Watt Used the Community Equity Program to Enhance her Public Policy Skills While Building a Community

After working to strengthen environmental protections in Texas, Priscilla Villa-Watt moved to Minnesota in 2019 to become the advocacy and public policy manager for Eureka Recycling, a nonprofit zero waste organization and social enterprise recycler. Priscilla had relevant work experience as an organizer, a master’s degree in… Read this story »