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fall 2015

E pi phan y C e n t e r Ne wsle tte r

Epiphany Toddlers and Moms Enjoy Day of Discovery Together On a sunny Saturday in June, ten toddlers and their moms from Epiphany’s Family Enrichment Program enjoyed an exciting field trip to the Bay Area Discovery Museum. “We’re so grateful to the museum for their donation of tickets for our families,” said Molly Enzminger, FEP’s Program Coordinator.

From the very beginning of their education, children should experience the joy of discovery.”

­­–Alfred North Whitehead

Aligned with FEP’s aim to promote positive parent-child relationships, the indoor-outdoor museum is framed by the beautiful backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge and features a state-ofthe-art imagination playground to foster unstructured play, hands-on wave workshops with live animals, and art activities that encourage child-directed creativity.

“All of the children loved the water play that was set up in the Tot Spot area of the museum,” said Molly. The specially designed Tot Spot features a natural-looking, recirculating stream filled with life-size plastic salmon and frogs swimming in it. “Besides splashing and getting wet, the kids really enjoyed taking the salmon and frogs in and out of the water.” Designed to ignite creative thinking in children, the seven and a half acres of play spaces, art studios, discovery halls,

and hands-on exhibitions also include a popular musical area where the little ones enjoyed using batons to tap on musical pipes and make melodious sounds. “Keen observers, some of the children were curious about the other children playing beside them,” said Molly. Together, children and their moms engaged in a variety of sensory activities, thoroughly enjoying a day of discovering new skills.


A Message from the Executive Director Dear Friends, The last issue of our Focus Newsletter had wellness as a theme. This issue shows the progress we’re making toward our goal of being an environment of healing and wholeness. An exciting component to this progress is that we received a 3-year federal grant from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to implement the Epiphany Wellness Project for families participating in the recovery programs. We will collaborate with the Latino Commission’s recovery program for women and children. The Project will utilize six domains of wellness: emotional, spiritual, physical, intellectual, occupational, and social to support and enhance the process of recovery. We will broaden therapeutic activities to include expressive arts, expand health education with HIV and Hep C testing, and facilitate groups in all of the domains listed. This is a tremendous opportunity to build on the vision of a holistic approach to recovery by providing education and activities that promote healthy choices in all areas of life. The grant has an evaluation component so that we will be able to gage the effectiveness of the interventions. We are very grateful to GRACE (Gather, Respect, Advocate, Change, Engage) a ministry of the Daughters of Charity with a mission to reduce barriers that keep people in poverty, who supported us through the process of preparing and submitting the grant proposal. Thank you to each of you for spending time with us in the pages of this Focus. I hope that the content gives you a sense of the energy and enthusiasm that pervades the agency as we work toward health and wholeness. Blessings,

Loving Creator, as we strive for wholeness and holiness, be with us and send us your gifts of reflection, openness, courage, strength, encouragement, wisdom, and love. Fall 2015

Epiphany Parent Child Center Director of Children’s Services

Sister Fran Kearney Retires After 23 years of outstanding service to the agency’s children, Sister Fran is retiring. Epiphany staff gathered on September 29, 2015 to celebrate her decades of caring for the city’s most vulnerable families and to wish her well on her next adventure. From her infectious laugh often heard echoing down the hallways and her peaceful demeanor, to her remarkable compassion and joyful nature, Sister Fran will be missed by employees, families, and children alike. “Sister Fran, you are a treasure for Epiphany and you will be deeply missed,” said Brenda MacLean, Epiphany Governing Board Member. Recently, the Board honored Sister Fran with a certificate for Perpetual Enrollment in the Association of the Miraculous Medal in recognition of her remarkable dedication to the agency’s families. She will be serving as the Hospitality Coordinator at the Holy Names Sisters' Rincon Residence for community guests in Campbell, California. While Sister Fran has officially retired from her work at Epiphany, we are thrilled that she will continue to periodically offer Infant Massage and CPR Training. Epiphany Parenting Coordinator Cheryl Sundheim who has been with the agency for four years will transition as the new Director of Children’s Services. “I may be the new director, but no one can replace Sister Fran,” said Cheryl.

Education in Etiquette New Epiphany Classes Empower Women with Courtesy, Consideration, Humility and Humor Author of Don’t Burp in the Boardroom – Your Guide to Handling Uncommonly Common Workplace Dilemmas, Rosalinda Randall is a popular etiquette expert who recently began teaching weekly classes at Epiphany Center. Randall has been spreading civility throughout the Bay Area for over fourteen years and touts the relationship-building power of age-old fundamentals such as respect, tact, humility, and humor. continued on page 2


Because of you….. A Story Of Hope And Recovery

Before I found Epiphany through the help of my daughter who lives in the Bay Area, I was hopeless. I was fearful. I was untrusting. I was living in the Midwest where I had grown up. I had been strung out on drugs for over 30 years and was very suicidal. My daughter searched for a recovery program with strong, long-term success and found Epiphany Center. On a Wednesday – a day I’ll never forgetshe scheduled an appointment. When I had been accepted into the program, I doubled over crying. It was an unforgettable day because I had totally surrendered. After entering Epiphany, everything in my life changed. I was very submissive yet rebellious. I was in acceptance yet reluctant because I had tried to get sober in the past without long-term success. What felt different at Epiphany were the

people. Everyone made me feel like a human being. Repeatedly, they told me to “trust the process.” Now, Epiphany is my overall support and I also have support in all areas of my life. I can ask for help and trust people. I’m a problem solver. I take what everyone taught me at Epiphany wherever I go. I trusted how they viewed me, so I began to walk into my character. Before Epiphany, I had no personality. Here, I found myself. On my first day at the agency, I’ll

I am now a woman of compassion, commitment, and courage." never forget what the Epiphany House Coordinator said to me. “All you have is your word. The longer you stay in Epiphany’s Recovery Program, the better chances of your staying sober.” Because I understood that all I had was my word, I

Rosalinda’s approach to the out-of-style term, “etiquette,” is different. She believes etiquette is an attitude. “If you are tactful and considerate, most people will not notice if you pick up the wrong fork,” says Rosalinda. In other words, it is how you make people feel when they are around you. Etiquette often comes down to being respectful, one of Epiphany’s core values. “I learned a lot of things I never knew before about eating out in social situations,” says a class participant. Interactive, straight-forward, and fun, Rosalinda’s workshops focus on topics

have become a very determined woman. That is a huge change. In the past, I was never able to do the work to finish something. Now, I’m an Administrative Office Assistant intern at a university and will soon be a full-time new hire. I really enjoy the work. My supervisor said, “Deanna you put the passion back in the job. You remind me why I do the work I do. Don’t ever give up on yourself.” I also enjoy helping other women in recovery. I love going to meetings and seeing the smiles on their faces when they see me coming. It really moves me. And because of Epiphany Center I can beam back at them! I have not smiled for over 20 years because of my bad teeth. When I first came to the agency over a year ago, I had the chance to see a dentist. Now, months later, thanks to the generous donors to Epiphany’s Dental Fund, I have a beautiful new smile. It was such a compassionate thing to do. It’s really boosted my self-esteem. Now, I can’t stop smiling! I am blessed and I’m just so grateful for Epiphany.

such as interviewing, responding to awkward social situations, and formal dining. "I am humbled to be around women who have the courage to deal with and make the necessary changes to improve their lives. Not everyone has the motivation or perseverance to make such changes. I am inspired by them. My parents provided me with a strong foundation which included, respect, consideration, courtesy, tact, humility and a dose of humor; demonstrating those character traits is more important than picking up the right fork." epiphany center | 3


A Special Day

Celebrating Women Huge thanks to everyone who helped make the 7th Annual Epiphany Center Celebrating Mothers Luncheon a very special day and a successful event! Held on May 6, 2015 at the St. Francis Yacht Club, a clear spring day set the tone for a lovely afternoon of socializing with new and old friends, orchid shopping, and live entertainment by the agency’s own Joyful Noise Choir. Guests enjoyed a delightful lunch amidst spectacular

Springs & Spa, SoulCycle, and many more. We thank all of our community contributors for their generous support. We are ever grateful to the wonderful women of the Epiphany League for dedicating their time, talent, energy, and enthusiasm to orchestrate this annual luncheon. Attendees’ hearts were touched by an uplifting testimonial from a recent graduate, who, with Epiphany’s care and support, has created a

This year, the Epiphany League raised an additional $11,000 for the new Community Garden. views of the beautiful bay and Golden Gate Bridge. The alfresco silent auction held in the courtyard featured a wide array of exciting items donated by our community supporters including Perry’s Restaurants, City Arts & Lectures, The Laurel Inn, Three Twins Ice Cream, Dr. Kathleen Welsh, Kabuki

healthier, happier future for herself. Her remarkable transformation from a life of chaos and alcohol to one of joy, clarity, and gratitude could not have happened without the heartfelt support from Epiphany League members, our donors, sponsors, and community contributors. Thank you!

Save the Date for the 8th Annual Celebrating Mothers Luncheon Wednesday, May 4, 2016 Many thanks to Pamela Lucas for her beautiful photography!

Meet Epiphany’s New Vincentian Service Corps Volunteer and Wellness Counselor

Nicole Bejany

In July, Epiphany was blessed with an outstanding Vincentian Volunteer, Nicole Bejany whose enthusiasm for all things wellness has enlivened staff and clients alike. From gardening and cooking, to exercise and well-being classes, Nicole hit the ground running sharing her nutritional know-how and healthy lifestyle expertise with the women.

"I am inspired by the women who are so loving, open, excited, and positive. They fuel my work here even more. It’s so rewarding hearing them speak of their improvements. This work is my passion, so I am very grateful to be here. In fact, after my first day at Epiphany, I called my family and they said, “We can’t believe you get to do what you’ve always dreamed of doing.”

New Epiphany Community Garden,

Heals Mind, Body, & Soil Photography by Academy of Art University's Bob Toy.

Because of the generous support from “You need to water every two days,” the guests of this year's Celebrating he instructs the thirteen women Mothers Luncheon, Epiphany’s new scattered about the multi-level rows Community Garden was planted and is of the budding vegetable garden. “The beginning to blossom. Carefully tended roots go down six inches, so take your to by the women throughout the week, time watering.” seasonal crops of crisp cucumbers, The vision for Epiphany’s Community heirloom tomatoes, strawberries, and Garden became a reality this summer squash are plucked and prepared for when the agency partnered with East nourishing meals Palo Alto’s NanoFarms in the communal and transformed a wild The new Epiphany kitchen. and weedy hillside into “Don’t be an edible Eden and the Community Garden afraid to get organization’s first San is part of an effort to a lot of water promote healthy choices, Francisco garden. A down into the Catholic faith-based self-reliance, and soil. There workers’ cooperative, collaboration among the NanoFarms installs are vegetable agency’s women, many small, sustainable roots way down of whom are mothers there, beets and produce gardens with onions,” said the option of ongoing charged with feeding Ernesto Jasso, maintenance on a young children. NanoFarms’ weekly or monthly cooperative basis. The intent is to member and Epiphany’s lead instructor. create paid employment for low-income Speaking in both Spanish and English people suffering from the skyrocketing to the attentive women, Ernesto, his cost of living in the Bay Area. “I had wife Marcela and their small team other jobs and I earned good money, but enthusiastically share their passion I think none is so beautiful as this job,” and respect for Mother Nature and said Ernesto. her bounty of healing herbs, fruits, and The new Epiphany community vegetables. garden is part of an effort to promote

healthy choices, self-reliance, and collaboration among the agency’s women, many of whom are mothers charged with feeding young children. “We’re hoping to help our families know more about what healthy foods are available locally and what they could potentially grow at home in containers,” says Epiphany’s Director of Adult Services, Suzi Desmond. The women work well together, weeding, watering, planting, and fertilizing the crops. Upon his arrival at Epiphany, Ernesto showed the women what their efforts would yield, presenting them with a basket of crisp cucumbers and ripe tomatoes just picked from their sunny South Bay farm. “No le gusta,” says Ernesto, pointing to the celery, indicating that the women should not water the leaves. “This is fun!” says one of the women new to horticulture and already a budding urban farmer. “I love gardening.” As the weekly class comes to a close, Ernesto points to row upon row of plants and says. “They’re not drooping because you ladies are doing a great job.”

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Afternoon Tea is Served.... Honoring a Century of Service Epiphany Center honored the many volunteer members (past and present) of the Auxiliary, Epiphany League, and Ladies of Charity with Afternoon Tea! The event, replete with scones, petit fours, finger sandwiches, fascinators, and pots of piping hot tea, was created to show our gratitude for these amazing ladies' combined nearly century of service to the agency’s children and women. A lovely package of Epiphany’s own handmade granola was placed at each table setting as a gift from the women to the Epiphany Tea guests.

Established in 1954, the Auxiliary was a group of 28 compassionate volunteers who worked for a common goal: the welfare of St. Elizabeth’s girls and their families. Over the years, this dedicated organization grew to over 250. From remembering the birthdays of each girl living at St. Elizabeth’s to teaching art and orchestrating annual fundraising events such as the historic the Christmas Extravaganza and the Golf Tournament, these generous souls ensured the girls were cared for holistically. Auxiliary: Elmy Bermejo, Kay Kleinen, Kristine Silva and Mary Balestreri

Epiphany League: Joan Mittendorf, Sheila Kelly, Erin Doyle Ebeling

Debi Curley

The Epiphany League is a group of dedicated women who donate their time and talent to Epiphany Center. The League’s purpose is to raise funds to ensure service for Epiphany’s families, to directly benefit clients through service projects, to organize two annual fundraising events, and to broaden community awareness of Epiphany Center. The League is open and encourages new members.

Founded by St. Vincent de Paul, the Ladies of Charity initially responded to the needs of the destitute in seventeenth century France. Under the inspiration of Louise de Marillac, they were organized in cities to bring God’s love to the suffering, the sick, and the marginalized of their time. Today, Epiphany Center is blessed by the local Bay Area chapter of the Ladies of Charity whose thoughtful members continue the tradition of compassion by organizing unforgettable afternoons sharing art projects and lunch with the women. Ladies of Charity: Diane Lawerence

Maura Bonnarens

We could not continue serving the city’s most vulnerable families without your spirit of generosity and kindness. Fall 2015

Art in Action


Epiphany Center strengthens family life through programs faithful to the beliefs of the Catholic Church, rooted in JudeoChristian values and the tradition of service of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. Epiphany Center provides client-centered care to a diverse population of women, children, and families, who are most vulnerable in our society. Our purpose is to strengthen family life and to enhance the physical, social-emotional, intellectual and

Academy of Art University Instructor Carol Nunnelly bringing student Juan Ruiz’ vision to life.

Many thanks to the Academy of Art University students who are donating their time and talent to paint a beautiful mural for the Epiphany children’s play yard!

spiritual growth of each person in our care. Our vision is to create a safe environment that reflects the belief that each person is created by God, is endowed with unique gifts, and is worthy of respect. We believe that our care for individuals enriches their present and future lives, the lives of their


families and, through them, the community


in which we live.



Sister Carol Padilla, D.C.

"Tea is Timeless"



Sister Frances Vista, D.C. MEMBERS

Sister Betty Marie Dunkel, D.C. Sister Margaret Ann Gainey, D.C. Sister Trinitas Hernandez, D.C. Ms. Victoria Jones Deacon Eugene Smith

Members of the Auxiliary enjoy afternoon tea circa 1960.


Sister Estela Morales, D.C.

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Party Co-chairs Sheila Kelly and Joan Mittendorf

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Epiphany Center Fall 2015 FOCUS Newsletter  

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