Center for Social Healing project with three Target volunteers

Volunteer Team Transforms the Center for Social Healing for Southeast Asian Members

Wilder’s Center for Social Healing offers a warm, welcoming environment created through years of shared meals and smiles. Thanks to more than 100 volunteers who work at Target, the transformed therapeutic community center for members of four Southeast Asian cultural groups now looks as welcoming as it feels.

The day after a volunteer-led remodel was completed in June 2019, members of the Vietnamese community gathered at the Center for Social Healing for their regular Thursday activities. Member Mni Tran said she likes the carpet, the new dishes – and everything at the Center. “We like it here a lot,” added member Dhao Thu.

Volunteer Project Brings New Look Inside and Out

Target volunteers planned the project for several months. After a few days of preparing the building and grounds, dozens of volunteers spent a day in June working on the brick building, which is nestled on a hill near Frogtown Farm and the Wilder Child Development Center in Saint Paul.

Workers installed fresh paint and new blue carpet in the entry and main gathering spaces at the Center. They replaced lighting with white open-weave barrel-shaped pendant lights and added a long table with benches so that members can sit together when they eat. New dishes, TV trays, framed string art that showcases member’s countries of origin, and box shelves to display cultural items round out the work inside.

Outside, Target volunteers installed garden boxes, a tool shed with new tools and a conveniently located spigot for members to water plants. They also attached painted bird houses to trees and decorations along the fence.

Intentional Collaboration with Volunteers and Cultural Communities

The project is the creation of multiple internal groups and vendors at Target, including the Target Volunteer Council, which tackles one large volunteer project every year, says Monica Ball, a Target employee who co-led the project. In addition, Target employees’ Asian Business Council offered crucial perspectives on the cultural communities who make up the Center. Target worked closely with members and staff at the Center to make sure that members received a refreshed space that met their needs.

“Members were involved from the beginning of the planning process,” says Sara Ewing, director of the Center for Social Healing. Members were asked for their preferences on wall color, art and décor, and they made specific requests such as tint on high windows to reduce glare from the sun.

Pahoua Yang, vice president of Wilder Community Mental Health and Wellness, says the Target team helped staff and members make the space work for them as their needs evolved, but the project’s impact goes beyond construction. 

“The deeper value was in having people who care about the work we do and the members we serve to work together to design and create our new space,” Pahoua says. “While the painting, furniture and artwork is beautiful, this is what brings the ‘heart’ to our new space.”

 

See the Before-and-After Pics at the Center for Social Healing

In June 2019, volunteers from Target transformed the interior and grounds at the Wilder Center for Social Healing. Check out the Center before, during and after the project. 

Outside of Wilder Center for Social Healing building
Wilder Center for Social Healing building before Target Volunteers transformed it inside and out.
Volunteers doing work outside Wilder Center for Social Healing.
Volunteers transformed the outside of the Wilder Center for Social Healing.
Landscape at Wilder Center for Social Healing building before volunteer project
Landscaping at the Wilder Center for Social Healing before volunteers transformed the space.
Volunteers working on landscaping at the Wilder Center for Social Healing
Volunteers transforming the landscaping at Wilder Center for Social Healing
Birdhouses painted by volunteers at Wilder Center for Social Healing
Birdhouses painted by volunteers outside Wilder Center for Social Healing
Garden boxes created by volunteers outside Wilder Center for Social Healing
Garden boxes created by volunteers outside Wilder Center for Social Healing
Volunteers working on fence weaving at Wilder Center for Social Healing
Volunteers work on decorative fence weaving at Wilder Center for Social Healing
Completed fence weaving at Wilder Center for Social Healing
Completed fence weaving at Wilder Center for Social Healing
Three women pose by new fence weaving outside Wilder Center for Social Healing
Members of the Center for Social Healing pose by a new fence weaving on the grounds.
Volunteers work on a new shed outside the Wilder Center for Social Healing
Volunteers work on a new shed outside the Wilder Center for Social Healing.
Members pose at a table near a donated shed outside the Wilder Center for Social Healing.
Members of the Center for Social Healing around table near a donated shed outside the Wilder Center for Social Healing.
View inside the Center for Social Healing as workers began a remodel of the building
Inside the Center for Social Healing as workers began the interior remodel.
Volunteers working on interior of Center for Social Healing at Wilder
Volunteers working on interior of Center for Social Healing at Wilder.
Transformed gathering space at Wilder Center for Social Healing
Volunteers transformed the gathering space at Wilder Center for Social Healing.
Eight pictures of textiles at Wilder Center for Social Healing
The volunteer project at Wilder Center for Social Healing included this artwork.
Two rows of volunteers posing under a tent during a construction project at the Wilder Center for Social Healing.
Thank you to our Target volunteers for transforming the Wilder Center for Social Healing!
Five Wilder and Target staff pose outside the Wilder Center for Social Healing.
Wilder and Target staff outside the Wilder Center for Social Healing.

The deeper value was in having people who care about the work we do and the members we serve to work together to design and create our new space. 

Pahoua Yang, Vice President, Wilder Community Mental Health and Wellness