John "JB" Bowlin at Casa Esperanza (May 19, 2015)..

When answering the Proust Questionnaire’s inquiry of his most marked characteristic, John Bowlin replies, “Being open when meeting new people.” That’s the honest truth, for John, or “JB” as he’s known to most, is one of the most open and friendliest people you’ll ever meet.

John’s lifelong quest to help people is a blessing to all of us living in Santa Barbara. For many years, he was the director of volunteers for Pacific Pride Foundation and he’s currently the volunteer coordinator for Casa Esperanza. He even pursues that commitment to service in his free time, as he’s been known to spend vacations in places like South Africa, helping to educate the population about AIDS.

This tireless helper took a quick break to answer the Proust questionnaire.

What do you like most about your job?

The people that I have met over the years of working in nonprofits in Santa Barbara. I truly enjoy and value our volunteers at Casa Esperanza. Being able to create an opportunity for someone from the community to give back and help make change is a rewarding experience.

What is your greatest fear?

In the years that I have worked at Casa Esperanza, my greatest fear would be to lose the space I live in. I am so grateful for having a quiet place to go to at the end of the day to meditate.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Being able to afford to live in Santa Barbara, it’s a tough paradise at times!

Who do you most admire?

My Father, who lived with MS and provided for his family through so many physical challenges, He also was the one who inspirited in me what it meant to volunteer and give back, even when you might be struggling.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Being able to go off to other places and help others who are in need. I have had those experiences a few times in my life volunteering with students in South Africa teaching AIDS education. Truly amazing!

What is your current state of mind?

Peaceful. Paying attention to what the universe brings to you and what you do with it, but every day is a life lesson.

What is the quality you most like in people?

Humor! It gets us through the tough times.

What is the quality you most dislike in people?

Humor! Some people think they’re funny when they’re not!

What do you most value in friends?

Thoughtful listening. Being able to be to support each other in the good and bad times.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Being open when meeting new people. I can find anything to talk about!

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?


Which talent would you most like to have?

A better karaoke songbook. I only have one go-to song. Anne Murray’s “Snowbird.” I know, I know!

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My lack of balance. I tip over easily! It’s an inner ear thing. That’s why I’m always trying to ride my bike.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Living to the age I am with only one vice. Okay, maybe two?

Where would you most like to live?

In a tiny house. I really like the lifestyle and eco-friendliness of the movement. I could pick up and move whenever I wanted. Also they are so cute!

What is your most treasured possession?

I would say a necklace I made from beads from South Africa. It reminds me that there are others out there in need and that we can all help somehow.

Who makes you laugh the most?

Spending time with Dgirl and The Bob! They always push the envelope.

What is your motto?

I go with the Auntie Mame motto: Live, live, live….

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Oscar Wilde: wit, wisdom, and a great fashion sense!

On what occasion do you lie?

My birthday!


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