SERVICE SPOTLIGHT: Cheryl’s Compassion for Children Shines!
April 13, 2016
It's National Volunteer Week and we're shining the spotlight on one of Epiphany's Parent-Child Center's fantastic volunteers: Cheryl.
Volunteers are the roots of community, and we want to give a big thank you to Cheryl & the rest of Epiphany's volunteers--we couldn't do this work without Y-O-U!
1. How long have you been with Epiphany Center, and how did you decide to choose to volunteer your time on behalf of the women and children of Epiphany Center?
I have been here since February, but look forward to many years here. My heart feels so open in such a short time. I discovered Epiphany Center through a charitable giving program at my work. Epiphany’s mission speaks to my own core social values: helping women and children, strengthening the bond between parent and child so that families can remain together. Epiphany Center is filling a necessary gap that we don’t see anymore, breaking the cycle of homelessness and abuse.
2. What is your role at the Parent Child Center?
Lynette, the Parent-Child Center Site Supervisor, places me in different classrooms at the Parent-Child Center. I started in the toddler room and now I’m in the infant room. I enjoy playing with them, reading to them, singing songs, and getting to spend one-on-one time with them. It is such a sweet and special place.
3. What is the biggest reward you get from volunteering your time here?
Being with the kids is my reward, feeling able to be present for them and fulfill their needs whether it’s reading to them or just being silly—there’s nothing better.
4. Of the 5 major Vincentian Values of Respect, Compassionate Service, Simplicity, Advocacy for the Poor, and Creativity—which is your favorite to practice and why?
I would say compassionate service, respect and advocacy for the poor. We are living in an uncompassionate world. In San Francisco we have so much wealth and possibility, but are lacking compassion. One in four children in SF are living below the poverty line, it’s a huge concern. It’s troubling that it is viewed as a personal failure. Addiction carries a stigma. It’s also viewed as a personal failure, but it’s a medical disease. We need to be more compassionate, other illnesses like diabetes or heart disease are treated with compassion. We all deserve respect.
5. Who or what inspires you?
Women who have faced adversity and repeatedly are able to pick themselves up and start over again. Strength and resilience inspire me. There’s a myth that people who succeed had it easy, but really life requires work. Life is about trying, failing, and trying again.
6. What do you love most about volunteering here in the city of San Francisco?
I’ve lived here for 26 years. I live near Epiphany Center. This is my home, and I see it being my home for the rest of my life. There are so many shiny things about San Francisco, but the city has its fair share of problems too. Epiphany Center provides a special safety net by sending women out into the world with real tools instead of just a bandaid. People can change, and Epiphany is providing the hope and inspiration for that change. Plus the kids! It’s so much fun!
7. What do you do outside of your time at Epiphany Center?
I’m a practicing attorney in the city. I teach summer classes at a University and enjoy spending time at the Jewish Community Center.