SERVICE SPOTLIGHT: Diane’s Creativity Fuels Her Service Work
July 7, 2016
Diane Blackman has served on the Epiphany League since 2010. A 3rd generation San Franciscan, Diane started her service work early following her parent’s example. At the age of just 10 years old, she gathered the neighborhood kids together and put on a play in her garage, donating the ticket sales to the Red Cross. She’s used her passion for creativity and theatre to raise funds for Epiphany Center as well, stepping up as our Benefit Party and Show, Show Producer, the past few years. Getting to volunteer in her native city of San Francisco gives her the good, warm feeling of contributing something worthwhile to the city she loves. Diane is inspired daily by her family, her supportive husband Richard, their son with his own law partnership, their daughter who is a nurse practitioner in pediatric oncology, and their youngest daughter, who is pursuing her dreams on stage.
How did you decide to choose to volunteer your time on behalf of Epiphany Center?
My mother was on the Board of Mt. Saint Joseph’s Orphanage, and as I teenager I took kids downtown at Christmas-time. My friend, Brenda, is very active with Epiphany Center, and when she asked me to join the League, I decided that Epiphany is a very worthwhile organization. I knew I would enjoy helping out.
What is your favorite Epiphany Center memory?
My favorite memory is a client graduation I attended about a year ago. I was so moved by the stories the women told, the determination and perseverance they needed to employ to overcome obstacles to become graduates of Epiphany’s Recovery Program. I was very impressed by what Epiphany Center had done for them, in not giving up and helping them to learn to help themselves.
What is it like being the show producer for the Benefit Party & Show?
Though it takes a lot of hard work, it is creatively satisfying. One challenge for me has been getting men involved in agreeing to perform; women are always delighted to participate! Once the theme is set and the songs are chosen, the real work begins--creating a show which flows well and brings everyone together. This involves a great deal of research into the songs and collaborating with the director. My acting background gives me a good sense of what works on stage and what doesn’t.
Next year’s Benefit Party & Show will be the 20th Anniversary of our beloved event! Stay tuned for more...
What have you learned during your time working with the Epiphany League?
I have gained a new awareness of the struggles that some women have to endure, and a new respect for how much time and energy it takes on the part of many people, to help these women to gain self-confidence, independence, and self-responsibility.
Of the five major Vincentian Values of Respect, Compassionate Service, Simplicity, Advocacy for the Poor, and Creativity, which one is your favorite to practice and why?
To me respect is the most important. Every human being from the person on the street to the President, no matter what your political beliefs, deserves respect. That being said, creativity is probably what I most enjoy practicing myself. Being creative gives me a good feeling of self-accomplishment, especially, but not necessarily, when it is acknowledged by others.
Favorite spot in San Franciso?
The Golden Gate Bridge, I love it when I cross it into and out of San Francisco, especially when there is fog lying on the water beneath it. When I was a child, my father was on the Bridge Board of Directors, and I always felt it was my bridge.