Courageous Stories

Highlighting community stories of courage, strength and resiliency


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 »

Saint Paul Public Library Uses Evaluation to Expand Community Services

Saint Paul Public Library’s Community Services program connects the library and Karen, Latinx, and Somali communities in Saint Paul through culturally responsive and informed programs, resources, and services. After years of building the program, library staff knew they had a strong foundation on which to build and wanted to tie the… Read this story »

Learning How Student Safety Coaches Create Safe and Productive Schools

Like many school districts across the nation and Minnesota, Intermediate School District 287 (ISD 287) had contracted with police departments to have police officers (called “School Resource Officers”) in school buildings. However, ISD 287 ended those contracts and in 2017-2018 and began using district employees titled “Student Safety… Read this story »

High school student Aine puts new driver’s license to work volunteering for Meals on Wheels

Aine, a high school senior in Saint Paul, knew she wanted to start volunteering as soon as she got her got her driver’s license at age 17 1/2. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Aine put her newly minted license to work delivering Meals on Wheels at Wilder. Read this story »

Cambodian Americans at Wilder Center for Social Healing Remind Volunteer Kai Miller that Small Contributions Make a Difference

Upon returning to the U.S. after five years of living and working in Cambodia, I found that readjusting to life in the US was difficult. I missed Cambodia, which was—and still is—a home for me. A family friend who worked at Wilder told me about the Center for Social Healing in Saint Paul. Read this story »

Musicians and artists help Wilder Connect participants with memory loss enjoy new activities and relationships

With masks and social distancing, participants in a new respite program for people with memory loss or Parkinson’s disease can make friends and reduce isolation during the pandemic. The program, called Wilder Connect, also helps artists like Ryan Evans do what they love: Make music and art with others. Read this story »

Stevena Builds a Stable Life with Wilder Youth Supportive Housing Services

Before Stevena Troupe moved into Lincoln Place in July 2019, she had slept in her car for two months while holding down a job. At Lincoln Place, a supportive housing development in Eagan for youth who have experienced homelessness, the 23-year-old turned her studio apartment into a home. Read this story »