RACHEL’S JOURNEY Recognizing inner strength and drawing from that strength to turn a fractured life around are two of the many feats Rachel, our client and a mother, has done through her journey from addition to sobriety and recovery at Epiphany Center. Rachel shared that her drug use began with an introduction to cigarettes which led to marijuana which eventually led her to methamphetamines. Her drug used was exacerbated by her father being deported to El Salvador and the damage her addiction had caused to her other familial relationships. Losing herself in drugs numbed her pain. Rachel realized she wanted to get sober and take back her life when she became pregnant with her daughter. She was finally in a place where she was willing to admit and surrender to the fact that she needed help. She wanted to give herself a viable chance of raising her daughter in a stable and loving environment. Rachel joined the Epiphany community in 2016 to treat her addiction and recently celebrated sixteen months
of sobriety. Rachel says that the best aspect of her time at Epiphany is that “they have given me the room to become a better me, a better mother and a better person. Being a mother is the most important thing to me now. The love I feel for my daughter is stronger than my addiction.” Rachel shared that, to her, addiction means “being powerless, being selfish and having your life become totally unmanageable.” A significant element of her recovery at Epiphany focused on being given different tools for coping with her addiction. Rachel expressed that these tools have given her the resolve and the power to recover and transform her life. Every day a fresh door opens for Rachel. She attends school fulltime and each day brings with it a new and exciting discovery. Rachel says the love she feels at Epiphany Center is so strong and she draws from that strength daily to continue on her path of clarity, stability and motherhood.
Dear Epiphany, I am Rachel’s eldest sister. Since we were kids growing up, I took care of her and helped her grow as our parents worked all the time. I always envisioned a great life for my sister, one in which I knew she would be boundless at accomplishing. Then struggles set in when she started to hang out with the wrong crowd and we drifted apart. I lost touch of my sister. My relationship with my sister was broken. As time went on she struggled more. I had no clue how to really help. She continued on her addiction journey and she later found out she was pregnant. She decided to make a change, a change that would transform her life forever. Once my sister started Epiphany’s program, we saw more and more of each other. My sister and I started to talk more and more frequently, and rebuild a relationship we never really had. My sister is my best friend; she always has been. We were so wrapped up in our own lives and struggles to realize it all along. I watched her blossom into the beautiful human being that she always was. I was able to experience for myself first hand just
how amazing Epiphany and her sobriety have been for her. I have watched my sister build an amazing relationship with her child, but most of all I have seen her learn to love herself. Rachel has been an inspiration to me. Watching her grow has been this amazing opportunity that was so generously given to her and is by far the most wonderful thing that could have ever happened to her. Her higher power was definitely looking out for her and I could not be more proud. Rachel has come so far in the past year, from being a great mother to her child to returning to school to achieving the goals she has always dreamed of. I am amazed at who she has become as a woman, as a person, and as my best friend. Rachel and I are closer than ever and I will continue to love and support her in her wonderful journey. Thank you, Jackie
A MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Dear Friends of Epiphany, We have recently celebrated Easter and are surrounded by the beautiful promises and hope that are found in new life in blossoming trees and by the new babies here at Epiphany. In my few months here, I have also witnessed the “Completion” stories of six women who have been through our program and after more than a year have been transformed, have sought and found a new beginning for themselves, and in the cases of some, have given their children, “new” mothers: mothers who because they have learned to love themselves, can also unconditionally love their children in very healthy ways. There was a quote from many years ago, “To love someone is to bid him to live; to invite him to grow.” That is an apt description of what occurs here. Throughout this newsletter, you will find the ways we tell a woman she has the capacity to be transformed so that she can fully live and fully grow. There are two articles on the first page of this newsletter, one from a woman who has completed her program with Epiphany and the other is part of a letter from her sister. They both share the story of the journey from brokenness to healing and to wholeness, a story and a journey that is continuing with hope. In this edition you will also see a review of our wonderful Gala, held at The Family, a perfect venue for this special time of coming together for a successful Silent Auction, an amazing “Las Vegas” show that was almost a sing along for those of my generation (See “A Swinging Affair” for the details), a delicious meal, a very moving testimonial of a woman who is finishing her program at Epiphany, and a very successful Fund a Need “auction” (See “Fund-ANeed Raises $40,000 for Trauma-Informed Care Environment”). Everyone associated with the evening has my heartfelt thank you for supporting our wonderful programs for women in recovery and their young children. The Daughters of Charity came to San Francisco in 1852 to care for orphans and our programs have always evolved to meet the most pressing social needs of society in the City always with children’s wellbeing as our focus. Epiphany Center provides one of the best programs for women in recovery and young children anywhere. I just got here so I don’t take any credit, but thank Sister Estela Morales, my predecessor and those Daughters before her who designed and implemented quality programs, even in the most difficult of times. The Daughters and our dedicated (underpaid) staff did the day to day work, but only because of the generosity of our benefactors. More than half of our services to women and children are unreimbursed. Each year, we depend on individuals, Foundations and Corporations for over $1,000,000. We count on people who know us—and love us—to be our ambassadors to others (individuals, foundations, corporations…) who would feel privileged to support our women who want to transform their lives. Being here, I find that the women and their very young children, are transforming mine. Thank you and God bless you, Sister Betty Marie Dunkel, D.C.
Volunteer Gift of Expressive & Creative Arts
Being able to tap into our creative side allows us to develop a more refined sense of self, harmony and balance to strengthen our personal journey. Epiphany Center women are given the gift of tapping into these powers of creativity through a volunteer who brings a wealth of experience into the lives of our clients. Jay has been volunteering and leading knitting classes at Epiphany Center for more than 25 years. Knitting has seen a significant resurgence in popularity in recent years due in part to the tangible stress relieving properties that knitting promotes. According to Dr. Robert Benson, a pioneer in mind/body medicine and author of The Relaxation Response, the repetitive action of needlework can induce a relaxed state comparable to that of meditation and yoga. Once you get beyond the initial learning curve, knitting can lower your heart rate and blood pressure and reduce harmful blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol. In addition to the physical benefits, Jay enjoys seeing the knitting activities at the Center result in beautiful and useful products that can build our client’s self-esteem. Our clients get to learn a new skill while embracing the calming and peaceful mood created in her knitting classes. The women are thrilled to be able to use their hands to create special treasures and gifts for themselves and their families.
FIVE-POINT HEALING The holistic approach, treating the whole person and not just the addiction, is the most effective treatment for long-term recovery. This includes using acupuncture therapy for drug and alcohol addiction, a therapy that brings the ancient wisdom of Eastern philosophy to recovery. John Kolenda, L.Ac. has been bringing acupuncture therapy to Epiphany Center clients in residential recovery for more than twenty years. The practice is a powerful way to treat addiction and other ailments without the use of drugs or stimulants and allows for healing through a completely natural method. Acupuncture is a sound and proven ancient Chinese therapy that can significantly ease cravings, stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain that often come with recovery from addiction. Tiny needles stimulate specific points on the body to create a sense of well-being and peace within the mind and body.
“One of the most significant aspects of my role over the past twenty years is that every day at Epiphany I’m able to get a deeper insight into the complexities of addiction treatment.”
John utilizes an Ear Acupuncture protocol called NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association). NADA refers to the five-point Ear Acupuncture protocol for recovery from addictions, particularly addiction to drugs and alcohol. This system helps create a more optimistic and collaborative attitude towards the process of recovery.
John focuses on one positive idea and theme per month and then clients center themselves and their hearts with a focus toward that one attainable ideal. This year’s themes have begun with honesty, trust, and surrendering to the process of renewal and transformation.
Four mornings a week, women in the program voluntarily come together to ease their minds and improve their health with acupuncture. The acupuncture group is a judgment free zone where clients can gain clarity. John’s ultimate hope is that the women fully surrender to the program because, once that is accomplished, real healing begins. Recovery, in its most dynamic form, is about recovering the spirit of an individual who has been broken by the pains of this world.
Acupuncture therapy provides our clients with much needed stress relief from the overwhelming anxiety and pressure of the addiction recovery process. The women are given the tools necessary to balance their minds and work toward healing their bodies and breaking their addictions. The environment that John creates for our clients is one of healing, acceptance and peace all set within a strong circle of trust.
Client Musings on Acupuncture Beginning our day with acupuncture, I feel is the most pivotal and poignant aspect of our entire day. Specifically, it is John himself who makes this aspect of our journey so important. John’s commitment, experience, infinite knowledge, compassion, and leadership demonstrate his dedication to this medical discipline of recovery. I truly value this time of my day most. It helps me to set the tone of my day and to form a purpose-driven beginning of value. I am both blessed and grateful! Joan, Client
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At this year’s 21st annual Benefit Party & Show, we were taken on a trip back to the 1960’s when the Las Vegas showrooms were the stomping grounds of Frank, Sammy, Tom, Bobby, Elvis, Peggy, and Nancy! Friends and family joined the Epiphany League at The Family in downtown San Francisco to benefit the vulnerable women and children served by Epiphany Center. Guests dawned their slickest suits and glitziest sheaths and enjoyed a night of mingling, dinner, entertainment, and inspiration to celebrate the women and work of Epiphany. Starting the evening off with Swingin’ ‘60’s piano tunes was master pianist Dwight Okamura. Before the Show, guests heard from an Epiphany graduate who touched our hearts sharing her transformational journey. The room was moved and inspired by her courage, perseverance and humbled spirit and also reminded of the reason for stepping out and attending “A Swingin’ Affair” – to give hope and lasting change for a brighter future.
Guests were also entertained by the dynamic duo of Don MacLean and Tom Owens our distinguished Masters of Ceremony. Don and Tom energized the crowd to raise their hands to the tune of $40,000! for our Fund-A-Need - a new Trauma-Informed Care Environment. Guests were then treated to a show-stopping performance by an outstanding cast of volunteers under the superb musical direction of the legendary Dwight. The show transported guests to the Las Vegas glory days as the incredible cast displayed their velvet pipes accompanied by Dwight’s keys and backed by a rhythm and horn section reminiscent of that ‘rat pack’ sound. Bravo to Co-Chairs Debi Curley and Brenda MacLean for their hard work and dedication, and all our sponsors, donors, contributors, and guests who ensured the evening was a smashing success. We thank each of YOU for making second chances possible for the women, children, and families of Epiphany Center!
“The capacity to love people and yourself can never be taken away from you. Love is a beautiful thing given to us in our hearts, and I got mine back from working hard at Epiphany Center-Epiphany gave me hope! Today I am going to school, which has become a true passion for me. I never thought I was good enough or that I could exceed, but I AM doing it and maintaining a 3.5 GPA. THANK YOU!” -Epiphany Graduate
Cast: Gail Anderson, Erik Davis, Victoria Stewart Davis, Dave Eshleman, Pegg y Haas, Ginnie Menezes, Jeff O’Sammon, D’Arcy Owens, Valerie Malone Raskin, Hiedeh Saghi, Robert Steele, John Vitalie Band: Alto/Tenor Sax: Steve D’Ambrosio, Trumpet: Bob Reyen, Guitar: Ken Lewis, Bass: John Eckstrom, Drums: Hal Solin
Photos by Scott Wall Photography
Fund-A-Need Raises $40,000 for Trauma-Informed Care Environment The women of Epiphany Center are, first and foremost, victims of trauma. From abuse to living on the streets, they have all turned to substances as a way to self-medicate and soothe the pain resulting from hardships: experiences of troubled homes, jails and prisons, as well as living on the streets. Such trauma is best treated with surroundings that invite rest, relaxation, focus, and connection. To support the women of Epiphany Center with developing healthier coping mechanisms for dealing with their trauma, we will create a Trauma-Informed Care Environment. The women and children at Epiphany have come to us from a life of extreme chaos and confusion. A beautifully crafted space solely intended for the purpose of helping them find stability and peace will be invaluable in supporting these women with recovery.
Taking into consideration the immense stress our clients have been under, we will design a space that is warm, welcoming, and calming. The space will be infused with soothing color, design, dĂŠcor, and incandescent lighting to create a sense of serenity. It will be their sanctuary. Balance and harmony in our clientsâ€™ living space is one of the crucial elements of making them feel at home here at Epiphany Center, and also helps to open their hearts and minds for real change and transformation.
We are so grateful for the generosity of our patrons at the 21st annual Benefit Party & Show for making our vision of a Trauma-Informed Care Environment a reality.
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NEXT GENERATION OF CAREGIVING PROFESSIONALS The future of Recovery Care lies with the new generation of caregivers, which is why we are proud to announce that two dedicated and passionate individuals have joined the Epiphany Center team; Ada Lee, a Vincentian Volunteer, and Ethena Caldas, a San Francisco State University Intern. Ada began volunteering with Epiphany in January as a Vincentian Service Corps-West volunteer; an affiliate of the Daughters of Charity. Ada will be supporting many key projects, including helping clients with job and housing searches, creating an educational directory, and assisting our case managers with their in-house activities. Ada is passionate about leading group sessions that focus on self-reflection and personal contributions. In her sessions, she gently guides clients to consider what they can contribute to society and who they want to become as they move forward with their recovery. Ada shared that this position has taught her a great deal about being creative, strategic and analytical with her thinking. The role has challenged her to learn more about herself and embrace the core Vincentian values, which include humility, service to the poor, simple living and compassion. Ada has discovered that the women in recovery are some of the strongest women she has met and their strength and resolve has been inspiring. “The women at Epiphany Center are fighting to get their lives back and they are doing so with grace and courage,” said Ada. Ethena is focusing on connecting our clients to educational resources that will enrich them as they transition back into
“The women at Epiphany Center are fighting to get their lives back and they are doing so with grace and courage.” -Ada society. Ethena has created a manual for our clients that helps them navigate the sometimes confusing and overwhelming world of education. She has created clear and structured guidelines that help make education less intimidating by pointing them to resources such as ‘Project Rebound’ at San Francisco State University and ‘Way-Pass’ at San Francisco City College. Both projects allow low-income and at-risk students to have access to classes, educational counseling and much-needed scholarships. With Ethena’s help, our goal is to help clients see academia as a real possibility in their lives and for their futures. Ethena shared that her internship has taught her that addiction comes
in many different forms and every story is significantly different. She now understands and believes that having a holistic approach to recovery is the most impacting method because it allows healing of the whole individual; physical, mental and spiritual. She’s so honored and grateful to be a part of the Epiphany Center team. Ethena also feels the strength of Epiphany women – not just the clients but the staff as well.
“We are strong! We face our fears and challenges every day, and every day, we get through them together!” -Ethena We’re honored to have these two young women who are thoroughly committed to the transforming work we do at Epiphany on board.
M I S S I O N S TAT E M E N T
Epiphany Center strengthens family life through programs faithful to the beliefs of the Catholic Church, rooted in Judeo-Christian values and the tradition of service of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. Epiphany Center provides clientcentered 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, socialemotional, intellectual and 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
Sr. Martina teaches the women the art of knitting.
our care for individuals enriches their present and future lives, the lives of their families and, through them, the community in which we live.
Would you, a group of your friends, or your organization like to donate to Epiphany Center? The following is a list of much needed items that could be funded by your financial contribution or donated as an in-kind gift:
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Diapers (newborn) Children’s clothing (0-3) Educational toys (0-3) Children’s books (0-3) Gift Cards (Ross, Target, Old Navy) Women’s clothing (all sizes) Sheets Towels Bus passes Knitting needles and yarn Donate your car or boat (Sister Betty Marie has fishing poles!)
Gently used donated items may be dropped off between 9 and 5 weekdays. For more information, please contact us at (415) 351-4055.
Chair Sister Marjory Ann Baez, D.C. Vice Chair Mrs. Brenda MacLean Secretary/Treasurer Sister Frances Vista, D.C. Members Ms. Tina M. Ahn Sister Margaret Louise Brown, D.C. Sister Trinitas Hernandez, D.C. Ms. Victoria Jones Sister Estela Morales, D.C. Deacon Eugene Smith Executive Director Sister Betty Marie Dunkel, D.C.
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no np rof i t o rga nizat i o n U.S. POSTAGE PAID SAN FRANCISCO, CA PERMIT NO. 7744
mo un t s t . jo s eph â€“ st. elizabeth 100 Masonic Avenue, San Francisco, California 94118
The Epiphany League invites you to
Celebrating Mothers Luncheon Thursday, May 10, 2018 St. Francis Yacht Club For more information visit TheEpiphanyCenter.org or call (415) 351-4055