Three women posing together

Wilder volunteer Asha Boggs creates authentic connection with participants in Healthy Aging programs


Asha Boggs stands out as a volunteer for two Wilder programs for her bright smile and obvious passion for caring for older adults in Saint Paul. The broad focus of Asha’s volunteerism reflects her personal philosophy of care for seniors, which seeks to consider a person’s needs from a holistic perspective. 


Asha delivers human connection alongside nutritious meals

As a volunteer driver for Wilder Meals on Wheels, Asha (pictured on the left with Wilder Connect staff members) delivers prepared meals every Monday to nine recipients in Saint Paul. She fosters human connection as she brings nutritious meals to community members.

Asha loves hearing about Meals on Wheels recipients’ lives. In addition to spoken check-ins, Asha observes and helps conduct welfare checks while she is delivering meals. She asks herself, “Is this your only contact with the outside world? Are there people checking on you? What other services might you need?” She shares her observations with Wilder staff, who can follow up with the recipient to see if they need or want additional services.

The sense of connection and benefiting someone else gives volunteers a boost, but Meals on Wheels recipients also benefit. Christine Miller, Wilder’s Meals on Wheels coordinator, says recipients often feel a sense of reciprocity when they find opportunities to make a positive impact on volunteers. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had volunteers return from their routes still absorbed in a kind word said to them by a client or stories that they’ll remember forever,” Christine says.

Building relationships through Wilder Connect

Besides Wilder Meals on Wheels, Asha helps at Wilder Connect, a respite service that provides four hours of recreation and healthy meals each week for adults with long-term care support needs, such as folks with Parkinson’s Disease or a similar neurodegenerative condition. The activities also give their regular caregivers time for themselves.

“For me, the coolest part is building relationships and getting to know people and just hearing about their lives,” Asha says. “Sometimes at Wilder Connect, you’ll ask them a question, and they’ll go off on a total tangent.” The question might not get answered, she says, but the tangent usually reveals deeper personal memories.

For me, the coolest part is building relationships and getting to know people and just hearing about their lives

Asha Boggs, Wilder volunteer

She especially likes sitting in on music therapy. Asha calls it eye opening.

“With the music, you can just see them light up. It’s almost like something comes on in their brain where they make a connection,” she says. “A lot of times they’ll be eating lunch, and they won’t really talk or interact with each other. But as soon as the music therapist comes in, they’re beginning to make connections. And that’s really cool to see.”

Asha’s attitude toward volunteer work helps others maintain independent and enriched lives, Christine says. “One of the things I appreciate most about Asha is how present and authentic she is with others. That kind of attitude allows for so many great things to happen.” 

Asha doesn’t quite know what the future holds for her. She will finish her master’s program later this year and plans to be a licensed social worker come December. Wherever Asha lands, she hopes to continue supporting community members holistically. 

As Asha reflects on her volunteer time with Wilder, she encourages others to serve, saying, “If you have a passion and you like to do something, figure out a way to volunteer for others who can’t do it.” Even if it’s just being a companion, formally with an organization or informally on your own, she says, “Have coffee with them. Get to know them.” 

Thank you to Wilder volunteer Phil Soucheray for writing this story.