Epiphany Gives Fond Farewell to Vincentian Volunteer Nicole Bejany
June 28, 2016
Epiphany Center’s mission is rooted in the values of St. Vincent De Paul, a 17th century French Roman Catholic priest who devoted his life to serving the poor in the name of compassion, kindness and humility. Epiphany Center was blessed this year with a volunteer from The Vincentian Service Corp West. In the spirit of St. Vincent De Paul, Vincentian volunteers give up almost a year of their lives to do service projects in low income communities. They live together in a community setting, they resist the temptations of consumerism to focus on spiritual growth, and they select a service site based on their own skills and talents.
This year’s Vincentian volunteer, Nicole Bejany, has exceeded our expectations in more ways than one. Nicole came to us all the way from Florida as a graduate of top research institution, Emory University, with a special interest in all things Wellness. Because Epiphany had a ten year dream of incorporating a Wellness Program into our Recovery Program and secured a Federal grant to do so, Nicole couldn’t have come at a more potent time. She was truly instrumental to growing and expanding our Wellness Program. Beyond that, Nicole has been a role model and a support to Epiphany’s clients, showing them that a life of Wellness means more than just healthy eating and exercise.
Executive Director, Sister Estela Morales adds:
"Nicole was a ray of sunshine! We are so grateful for the energy, the enthusiasm, joy and knowledge she brought to the Wellness program! Her presence will be felt at Epiphany for a long time!"
This week staff and clients alike gathered to offer well wishes to Nicole on her last day at Epiphany Center. As we enjoyed a delicious vegan chocolate coconut pudding, clients stood up one by one to share the impact that Nicole has made on their lives. Here are just a few of the heartwarming sentiments expressed:
"Through your help I've been able to learn how to get healthy, you will forever be in my heart."
"Walking with you isn't just exercise, it's therapy. You make me feel special."
"You showed me what it's like to have a healthy relationship with another woman. I'll never forget you."
"You were always personable and passionate about what you do, you took on so many roles and dealt with them all with grace and patience."
“You gave me a balance in my health.”
“It wasn’t just the help with eating healthy and cooking and body image, you were always there to listen to me.”
Nicole will continue her pre-med graduate studies in Arizona, but her influence and spirit will remain with us at Epiphany Center.
Nicole had this to say about her time at Epiphany Center:
"Without a doubt the thing I will miss most about Epiphany are the clients. They brought so much joy into my life each day and while I will carry that with me, I will truly miss their presence in my life. There were so many wonderful things that came out of my year at Epiphany; however, working a Wellness counselor, some of the most rewarding moments were watching clients go from having no interest in wellness to embracing it whole heartedly! The biggest challenge as a Vincentian Volunteer was learning to not take things personally. I came to understand that so much of the anger and negativity we face in others comes from a place of pain. By viewing those experiences through a lens of compassion it changes the experience for the better for both parties involved"
Good luck Nicole, we’re expecting great things from you!