SERVICE SPOTLIGHT: Epiphany League Member Nan Bouton! SERVICE SPOTLIGHT: Epiphany League Member Nan Bouton!

SERVICE SPOTLIGHT: Epiphany League Member Nan Bouton!

March 30, 2016

In honor of National Volunteer Month in April, we're shining the spotlight on Epiphany League member Nan Bouton!


1. When did your interest in service come about? I’ve been volunteering ever since I was a kid. I was a candy striper in a hospital in high school. I was on my children’s school board when they were young. There were periods of time when I was busy raising children and didn’t volunteer, but I always came back.

2. How did you decide to choose to volunteer your time on behalf of Epiphany Center? I had been spending a lot of time taking care of my mother who was quite elderly, when my friend Irene Holmes invited me to a Celebrating Mothers Luncheon. I attended a few of Epiphany’s benefits and thought, “the work these people do is really wonderful”. I wanted to give back to the community. It also didn’t hurt that I was friends with 4-5 members when I joined.

3. What is your favorite Epiphany Center memory? The client stories are my favorite. I enjoy getting to hear them speak and share their stories with us.  It’s easy to support a program when it is as successful as Epiphany Center. I have such admiration for these women. It’s no small task to leave behind old ways, either good or bad—change is always hard. It’s very admirable. The success that happens here is gratifying because it wouldn’t be possible without Epiphany Center’s wonderful programs. It’s also nice to be involved with intervention programs early in a person’s life. After Epiphany, clients can go on and create hopeful futures with long-lasting change.

4. What have you learned during your time working with the Epiphany League? During my time here I’ve enjoyed learning about Epiphany Center’s legacy of service to the community, its history and all of the programs it offers vulnerable women. I had no idea the extent of the programs, but I learn more each meeting—whether it’s the in-home services they provide or the new wellness grant, what Epiphany Center is doing is special. Sister Estela is remarkable at developing successful programs and going after funding to get them started.

5. What or who inspires you? My mom. She lived to be 103 years old! The older I got the more I learned to appreciate her, and the strong moral values she instilled in not just me, but my own children.  She did volunteer work too. She had a love of life and a love of family. My children were raised during the 1980’s when there were many cultural shifts happening, but my mom always stayed true to her values. Her grandchildren still make decisions based on “what Grandma would say”. She was a first generation French-American. She saw changes happening, some she liked, some she didn’t, but she was always respectful.

6. 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? For me it’s creativity, on two levels. First, I’ve got five daughters and five grandchildren! I get calls from them and have to get creative with problem solving, “Mom how do I handle this?” So I’ve got to be mentally creative. Second, artistic creativity--the arts are good for the soul! I’ve been doing ceramics and it’s marvelous. I’ll have this ball of dirt, and after the artistic process I’ll have something that’s beautiful and useful, something I can share with others. It’s very healing.

7. What is the biggest reward you get from volunteering here in the city of San Francisco? Knowing that I’m supporting an organization that has success! The city can’t do everything, the government’s “one-size-fits-all” approach isn’t as effective as smaller philanthropy organizations that can focus specifically on a cause. Organizations like Epiphany are necessary, they are efficient, and we actually achieve success! Being a miniscule part of that success is rewarding for me.

8. Favorite spot in SF? The Palace of Fine Arts. I grew up in this area and still live here today. My father was very instrumental in bringing exotic birds to the lagoon. It’s always felt like our playground. Many people don’t know the lagoon is a shelter for birds migrating the Pacific Flyway, so it acts like a wildlife refuge. I helped raise money in the neighborhood for renovating the exterior of the Palace.

9. Where were you born? I am a native San Franciscan! The city has changed a lot over the years, not always for the better. So I have a sense of duty, especially for the Palace of Fine Arts, having lived there all my life, it’s the least I could do. I’m very happy to be a part of it all.


Are YOU interested in joining the Epiphany League?

Please contact Mary Rhoades at (415) 351-4055 or

The purpose of the Epiphany League is to raise funds to ensure holistic care for the most vulnerable women, children, and families in San Francisco, to directly benefit clients through service projects, and to broaden community awareness of Epiphany Center.