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All We Knead Is Love

spring 2015

Epiphany Infant Massage Soothes Little Ones and Moms

Asking permission of the infant is the first step in entering into the massage time.

Infant massage has been offered to little ones at Epiphany Center since 1992. True to the agency’s mission to meet clients’ changing needs, Executive Director Sister Estela Morales and Mindy Zlotnik, 4th Trimester, initiated infant massage for the medically fragile, at-risk infants to promote sleep, eating, and attentive communication between the infant and the caregiver. Having their communication valued and validated helps infants grow in selfesteem and confidence in their ability

to make their needs known. “Massage improves our baby's sleep patterns, alleviates the discomforts of colic, gas, and indigestion. The E pi phan y C e n t e r Ne wsle tte r healing practice promotes the ability of both mom and infant to stay calm and focused. Our moms learn how to attune to the subtle body language cues of their babies,” says Director of Children Services Sister Fran Kearney, who is a Certified Educator of Infant Massage. “Massage also enhances bonding and secure attachment as mom and child engage in reciprocal communication.” Infant massage was introduced to the United States by Vimala McClure. While traveling through India in the 1970’s, Vimala worked in an orphanage “Being touched and caressed, being and witnessed firsthand a 12-yearmassaged, is food for the infant. old girl who would massage all the children there. Even with the lack of Food as necessary as minerals, proper nutrition, the children thrived, vitamins, and proteins.” which she attributed to the massage – Dr. Frederick Leboyer they received. Upon returning to the states, Vimala developed a process and founded the International Association experiences. It also gives the infant of Infant Massage. a greater sense of body awareness. There is evidence-based research It is a time when caregiver and child that shows the importance of healthy build their relationship of trust and touch in infant emotional and physical understanding, and most importantly, development. Through massage, the communicates respect, healing, infant has a way of communicating the and love. stress from birth and other sensory


New Epiphany Herb Garden Inspires Women “Wow! That chocolate mint is strong,” declared a surprised woman nibbling on a few just plucked leaves. Cooking instructor Lynne Burrell nodded her head in agreement as she motioned to the other eight women to cut their own sprigs from the redwood planter box packed with a variety of aromatic, tender greens. Epiphany Center’s Hands-onHealthy Cooking Classes are pressing and practical, offering low-income women, many of them struggling mothers, lessons on how to cook and

eat wholesome, nutritious meals for themselves and their little ones. “My goal is to make it easy, affordable, fast, tasty, and sustainable continued on page 7

What’s Inside Message from the Executive Director

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Epiphany Graduates

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Broadway Melodies!

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Meet Suzi Desmond

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Service Spotlight

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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 client-centered care to a diverse population of women, children, and families, whospring are most 2013 vulnerable in our society. Our purpose is to strengthen family life and to enhance the physical, social-emotional, 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 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. VICE CHAIR


A Message from the Executive Director Dear Friends, In this issue of Focus, a theme throughout is the concept of wellness. Wellness means a person is making choices that lead to a balanced, well-lived life. Wellness is more than being free from disease, and being in recovery can mean more than a life free from substances. Wellness is the process that enables us to make healthy choices that involve our whole selves. As an agency, we hope to create the environment of wellness where healing can happen in mind, body, spirit and community. It is an ongoing, dynamic struggle to be open to growth and change. As women grow in their recovery, we see a shift in their openness to new ideas and a willingness to challenge old practices. Wellness involves becoming more aware of how our choices affect the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual facets of being human. Our hope is that wellness pervades the recovery

program so that wholesome choices become a way of life. Wellness leads to a more optimistic emotional state and a deeper sense of hope in the future. As we strive to become a community of wellness that surrounds the women, children, and families in our care, we greatly appreciate your support that comes to us in so many generous ways. The response at the Benefit Party & Show to the Fund a Smile is a wonderful example of how your generous giving promotes wellness for women in need. Your generosity helps us provide wellness that will affect our clients today and the children of future generations. Thank you for your support and affirmation of our mission,

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 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Sister Estela Morales, D.C.

Spring 2015

Loving Creator, with your love today we can become whole and holy, wise and mindful, hopeful and joyful, and the person you are waiting for us to become.


In Her Own

Original artwork created by the women of Epiphany Center and used on printed notecards.

"My time at Epiphany has brought me more gifts than I can ever put into words."


My time at Epiphany has brought me more gifts than I can ever put into words. When I first came here, I was a shell of the person I once was. I didn’t know how to laugh anymore. I was already on a rocky path and then I think I just gave up. I had lost my way until Drug Court placed me into Epiphany Center. Coming to Epiphany was the best thing that has ever happened in my life. With the support of the women, the staff, and counseling, I found my path. I learned what I enjoy doing. I learned how to laugh and have fun, and to be myself. I learned to find joy. I learned to be honest with myself about how I feel. I learned I have a choice in how I want to live my life. But none of this would even be possible if I was not clean and sober. I can now share my experience, strength and hope with women who are going through the same things I have and let them know a better life is possible. I cannot even put

into words how great a feeling that is. When I arrived at Epiphany, I was missing teeth and for too long had not had the desire or the ability to do something about it. Without the help of the Epiphany Dental Fund, I cannot imagine what would have happened. I was able to receive the necessary dental work that I needed to eat without pain. When I smile, I no longer feel as though I have to hide. I had no idea how much those missing teeth had affected my self-esteem. Not only has my selfesteem increased, but my overall quality of life has improved. I am so grateful for the help of the dental fund. I am currently back in school and I am at the top of my class. Succeeding in school has shown me what I am capable of. Coming to Epiphany is honestly the best thing that has ever happened in my life. I have found my path, and I have found myself.

Epiphany’s Graduates Begin Better, Brighter Lives On January 29, 2015, Epiphany Center staff, clients, family, and friends came together to honor eight very special women who graduated from the agency’s life-changing recovery program. “When I walked through those doors, I chose to live instead of die,” recalled a teary-eared participant. “The program was the hardest and the best thing I’ve ever done!” The beautiful ceremony opened with royal blue cap and gown-clad women walking single-file into a sun-lit room packed with waiting family, friends, and other well-wishers. Epiphany Executive Director Sister Estela

Morales congratulated the graduates and thanked friends and family, “for supporting these courageous women as they embark on what is truly the beginning of their recovery.” Each graduate received a framed certificate of completion, a recovery medallion, and an inspirational book from Adult Services Program Director,

Suzi Desmond and Residential Coordinators, Toshia Webster and Deborah Hodges. They also received gift cards from longtime agency supporters, the Ladies of Charity. Many graduates are already enrolled at San Francisco’s City College for promising new careers in the community. Rather than simply granting the continued on page 6

epiphany center | 3


Broadway Melodies! is a

Smash Hit!

On behalf of Epiphany Center’s women and children, a standing ovation to our phenomenal supporters of the 18th Annual Benefit Party & Show, Broadway Melodies! at the Metropolitan Club on Tuesday, March 24, 2015. Bravo to the Host Committee, the Epiphany League, our generous sponsors, donors, guests, and volunteers whose contributions

enjoyed a cocktail reception, elegant dinner, silent auction, and sensational entertainment. Huge thanks to Diane Blackman for producing the original show and to Dwight Okamura for his distinguished musical expertise. Above all, big applause to the phenomenal cast: Diane Blackman, Ginnie Menezes, D’Arcy Owens, Tom Owens, Valerie

With your help we raised over $78,000 for Epiphany Center's life-changing programs! Fund A Smile received over $16,000 from 58 donors! and kindness sustain Epiphany Center’s programs helping vunerable familes succeed. Hats off to Epiphany League co-chairs Sheila Kelly and Joan Mittendorf who went above and beyond orchestrating the unforgettable evening. Guests

Malone Raskin, and Robert Steele. We celebrate your talent and enthusiastic contribution of time and energy. Finally, three cheers to all! Because of you, struggling families find the freedom to make heroic strides toward successful futures.

“I think the world of Sister Estela and all the fine work that she and the others at Epiphany Center are doing to rescue young lives. It is an honor to raise funds for such a wonderful cause.” – Tom Owens, Cast member

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Photos by Scott Wall Photography Captions 1. Anne Wattis, Maile Sandmann, Philip Ansumana Munda Hull and Matthew Davison 2. Paul Pelosi and Diane Blackman 3. Event Co-Chairs Sheila Kelly and Joan Mittendorf 4. Tricia Magher and Rhetta Rowland

5. Amy Menezes with Dad, Walter 6. Fund A Smile Emcee Don MacLean, Executive Director Sister Estela Morales, and Governing Board Member Brenda MacLean

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Welcome Suzi Desmond | Director of Adult Services " It is awe inspiring and exciting to reflect upon the ripple effect of such healing ~ the healing of one woman extending into her family and far into the community." 1. How long have you been working in the social justice arena? For many years, I have had the honor and privilege to work with women coming out of jail and prison in unearthing the root cause of incarceration ~ trauma. This restorative justice ministry helped the women develop new coping strategies, reconnect with estranged family and ultimately transition into society as productive members. In healing the individual, we also heal families and communities. In addition to working with the women, I conducted local and national outreach in an effort to break down stereotypes associated with the incarcerated. A quote that I would often share with audiences as recognition that others’ misfortune could be one’s own, if it weren’t for blessings bestowed by the Divine: “There but for the Grace of God, go I.” 2. When did your interest begin in working in this field? As a young girl, I was always curious about how one chooses a certain path in life and the resulting consequences of one’s choices. My graduate and post-graduate

research focused on psychology, psychotherapy and criminal justice. Often as a result of trauma and victimization, one’s Divine path is disrupted. I believe that through psychotherapeutic intervention, the resulting insight and God’s Grace, one is able to change behavior and develop new coping skills, allowing them to embark upon their inspired path that is life giving and loving. 3. What do you find most fulfilling about your work? The daily collaboration with a committed multidisciplinary team of outstanding professionals is especially fulfilling. Such a strong alliance amongst dedicated individuals truly embodies and fosters compassionate care and results in a positive impact on all of the clients served. To have an opportunity, in any small way, to positively impact a woman who has come through trauma and

victimization is a gift. It is awe inspiring and exciting to reflect upon the ripple effect of such healing ~ the healing of one woman extending into her family and far into the community. 4. Why did you choose to work at Epiphany Center and what do you like most about working at the agency? Epiphany Center has an outstanding and unparalleled reputation in the community. Sister Estela Morales is a remarkable leader who embodies compassion and grace. In meeting Sister Estela, touring the center and meeting the staff, I felt inspired and divinely galvanized to join the team. 5. What or who inspires you? Individuals who have the strength and courage to transcend trauma and live a life filled with hope and possibility for themselves and their loved ones.

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Epiphany’s Graduates Begin Better, Brighter Lives basic necessities, Epiphany’s recovery treatment, vocational skills program, healthy cooking classes, and mental health clinic allow at-risk women to take life by the reins and create the change they desire. Each graduate had the opportunity to share something of their story that gave a glimpse of their struggles and Spring 2015

victories. Affirmations from family members and friends spoke to the tremendous effect on the community when a woman chooses recovery, chooses life. In the words of one of the women, “Our recoveries were never just about us, but about everyone – our friends and family – who love us.” The graduation ceremony closed with the Serenity Prayer, followed by a candle lighting, reflecting Epiphany’s mission to bring God’s light, healing,

“It’s been a very long and amazing journey,” said a smiling graduate. and wholeness to women and children. “It’s been a very long and amazing journey,” said a smiling graduate. “And, I would never give up that journey because it made me into the strong woman I am today.”

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PLANT POWER for them,” says Lynne. After clipping and gathering a basket brimming with freshly harvested oregano, rosemary, chocolate mint, chives, and thyme, the women convene in the agency’s communal kitchen. As they collaborate, chopping, dicing, and mixing, the women learn how to craft healthy meals without boxed goods and preservatives. “I brought in some store-bought bottled salad dressings,” said Lynne, holding up a few familiar looking grocery store staples. “If you read the label, you will see most dressings are basically high fructose corn syrup mixed with canola oil. Canola oil is man-made, and recent scientific studies have found it raises blood pressure, increases insulin resistance, and shortens lifespan. Today, I thought it would be fun and helpful to make our own salad dressings infused with fresh herbs,” said Lynne. Groups of as many as a dozen participants with varying degrees of culinary skills gather together for one hour twice a week. “I think I heard if you roll the herbs

before chopping them, the taste is stronger,” said one woman as she demonstrated for the others. “The women were really excited to learn how to use fresh greens from the garden, not only for their own homemade salad dressings today, but in their future cooking endeavors,” said Lynne. “Before the dressings were bottled, the enthusiastic new chefs were already dreaming up ways to package the herbs as holiday gifts.” A very special thank you to Boy Scout Troop 14 for beautifying Epiphany’s garden! These hard working, creative volunteers built a stunning redwood herb planter box and filled it with fresh herbs.

About Epiphany’s Hands-On Healthy Cooking Classes

Epiphany celebrates the value of protecting the planet and making healthy choices every day. The classes teach the women how to appreciate wholesome living and food choices that will be sustainable for themselves and their children.

SERVICE SPOTLIGHT | Epiphany League Member Christie McRae Kirmse New Epiphany League Member Christie McRae Kirmse hit the ground running, swiftly gathering spectacular silent auction items for the Benefit Party & Show. Passionate about giving back to the community, Christie’s lifelong volunteer work began at 13. “My mother was the head of the Volunteer Bureau in Topeka, KS, where I grew up, and in 1966, a tornado decimated our city. I spent the days after the disaster on a food truck serving meals to families who lost their entire home in the tornado. “For those of us who were lucky enough to grow up in loving, supportive families who allowed us to thrive, I feel it is incumbent upon us to help those who are less fortunate,” she says.

"For those of us who were lucky enough to grow up in loving, supportive families who allowed us to thrive, I feel it is incumbent upon us to help those who are less fortunate." Asked about her favorite experience working with Epiphany Center, Christie says spending time with Executive Director Sister Estela to discuss how to better support the clients through education regarding healthy nutrition. “Wholesome eating is very important for a good life, and I think we can help the women make better food choices and learn to cook delicious, inexpensive, and nutritious meals for themselves and their families,” says Christie. It is because of the kindness and generosity given by volunteers like Christie that we are able to provide safety and support to hundreds of women and children at a time in their lives when they need it most. Thank you Christie! epiphany center | 7

no n p rof i t o r gan i z at i on U.S. POSTAGE PAID SAN FRANCISCO, CA PERMIT NO. 7744

m o u n t s t. jos eph – st. eliz abeth 100 Masonic Avenue, San Francisco, California 94118

The Epiphany League invites you to

JOIN US 7th Annual Celebrating Mothers Luncheon WEDNESDAY, MAY 6, 2015 St. Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco

Mark your calendars for Epiphany Center's Annual Celebrating Mothers Luncheon. Join luncheon co-chairs Terry Keyes, Brenda MacLean and the Epiphany League for a memorable afternoon celebrating mothers in your life while supporting mothers-in-need. Enjoy a delicious lunch overlooking the bay, a silent auction, and a beautiful orchid sale to raise vital funds that support the agency's life-changing programs for the city's most vulnerable families.


Mothers Luncheon

Hear firsthand from a recent graduate who, with help and encouragement from Epiphany Center's highly trained staff, discovered the strength within to transform her life.

Please join us for a special day honoring special women. Available online at TheEpiphanyCenter.org, individual tickets are $80 per person, and a table sponsorship with ten seats is $1,000. Questions? Contact the Development Office at (415) 351-4055.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015 JOIN OUR EMAIL LIST: info@TheEpiphanyCenter.org


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Epiphany Center Spring 2015 FOCUS Newsletter  

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