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A Caring Voice on the Hotline

Volunteer Spotlight: Jess Nissenbaum, Hotline Counselor

Whenever someone calls BARCC’s 24-7 hotline, there’s a voice waiting on the other end of the line. Whether you’re a survivor, family member, friend, or provider, our highly trained and supervised volunteer rape crisis counselors and staff are ready to listen, to support, to help explain options, and to refer you to the resources you need. One of those voices belongs to Jess Nissenbaum, a BARCC hotline volunteer who is a shining example of dedication, skill, and empathy in action.

“Since starting on the hotline two years ago, Jess has taken over 150 hotline calls, providing those callers with a compassionate listening ear, a sense of safety, and connection to BARCC’s community of support. Jess brings a wonderful calm energy to each of her calls,” says Jesse Moskowitz, coordinator of BARCC’s Hotline program.

A social worker by day, Jess is building her career supporting children with a history of hospitalization and their families, while volunteering for BARCC in her free time. Jess was first introduced to BARCC when she was attending Boston College for her master’s degree. She was interested in volunteering on their hotline, but as our luck would have it, their deadline had passed and they referred her to our volunteer program, which was just gearing up for our next training.

More than two years later, Jess now acts as a peer supervisor for the hotline, offering mentoring and support to the other 60-plus on-call hotline counselors. “In this role she has really been able to shine,” Jesse reflects. “Jess brings extraordinary warmth and care to all her interactions, whether on the hotline, in group meetings, or beyond.” At the Champions for Change Gala & Auction this past October, Jess received our Lois Glass Award, presented each year to the hotline volunteer, chosen by their peers, who has shown exemplary compassion, vision, and commitment.

Through it all, the people who call BARCC’s hotline are Jess’s biggest motivation. “Being able to be there for people, I love it. Having a really good call is so rewarding,” she shares. “I’ve been doing this for over two years, and I’m not looking to leave anytime soon.” BARCC celebrates Jess and all the other volunteers are so passionately engaged in our mission to end sexual violence through healing and social change.

Interested in joining Jess as a hotline volunteer? Or is medical advocacy or community education more your style? Either way, check out our volunteer opportunities and start the year off right by applying for one of our 2017 trainings!

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Jessica L. Atcheson
As BARCC’s first staffer solely dedicated to communications, Jessica L. Atcheson leads strategies to advance BARCC’s mission and raise its organizational profile. She develops, implements, and evaluates strategic communications initiatives in a variety of online and offline channels. Prior to joining BARCC, Jessica served as the writer and editor at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, an international human rights nonprofit. She began her career in nonprofit communications at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, where she worked as associate editor. She has also earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in communication studies from Hamilton College, studied at Oxford University, and served as a survivor advocate through the AmeriCorps Victim Assistance Program. She volunteers at the Network/La Red, which works to end partner abuse and support LGBQ/T survivors.

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