Many students come to Perkins with the goal of moving into a new job, advancing in a current career, or becoming ordained.
Stephanie Bohan’s goal, however, is to just keep on doing the job she’s already doing – “until the day I die,” she jokes – but doing it better.
Bohan is Executive Director of The Agape Clinic, a nonprofit medical clinic which serves the community of East Dallas. On top of her job, she is pursuing a Master of Arts in Ministry degree part-time with a concentration in nonprofit leadership, which Perkins offers in partnership with the Cox School of Business.
Bohan credits serendipity for the choice. A sermon by her pastor, the Rev. Judith Reedy of Grace United Methodist Church, led her to Perkins’ website.
“Judith said something about being a servant leader, I don’t remember exactly, except it made me go look at the website,” she said. “When I discovered the M.A.M. program, I felt it had been created specifically for me.”
She became the first student to declare an intention to earn the degree with the nonprofit leadership focus.
“I want to be the best leader I can be,” she said. “I was nervous at first; it had been at least 20 or 30 years since I turned in a paper for a grade. But I’ve been ridiculously blessed in this program.” So far, she’s earned straight A’s.
“Every time I step on the campus, I feel like I’m becoming a better person and learning to become a better servant,” Bohan said.
Founded by Dr. Barbara Baxter, who is also medical director and a member of Highland Park United Methodist Church — which played an instrumental role in the clinic’s creation —The Agape Clinic is the oldest charity medical clinic in Dallas and is independently funded. The clinic provides medical and dental care for anyone and everyone who asks for help. The clinic was located in the basement of Grace UMC for 33 years, until the clinic purchased the building across the street.
Since Bohan joined in 2010, the Clinic has expanded its reach, from 2,800 patient visits to 18,000 patient visits per year, now delivering some $8 million in care to patients on a $850,000 annual budget, thanks to volunteers, donations and partnerships with educational institutions. Dental services are provided by students at the nearby Texas A&M College of Dentistry.
A “cradle Catholic” who’s now a United Methodist, Bohan is a graduate of Catholic University in Washington, D.C., where she earned her degree in philosophy. Previously, she held positions in development at a Catholic elementary school and the Dallas Holocaust Museum.
“I discovered I was naturally good at this,” she said. “I realized that nonprofit management was about doing good work and communicating it effectively. When you do that, you’ll never have to ask anyone for money. People naturally want to give and support you. Just stay focused on doing good work for the right reason.”
Bohan said she was fearful when she started the job at Agape – fearful there wouldn’t be enough money, fearful they’d have to turn patients away, fearful they couldn’t serve everyone, fearful of failure. None of those fears materialized.
“There have been a million miracles that I have been privileged to witness,” she said. “I get to witness people giving of their time, lives saved, families kept whole because they didn’t lose a mom, a dad, or a child because they received good medical care,” Bohan said. “My life has been full of blessings that I could never have imagined because of this work.”
Through her Perkins education, Bohan said, she’s getting closer to God, and preparing the way for more miracles.
“If I’m a better servant, there are even more blessings to come,” she said.