Last week, BARCC held one of its two weeklong summer trainings. Part of my job at BARCC is organizing said trainings, which is big and complex and why you haven’t seen me on the blog as much! And I’m about to start planning the next training. Whee!
BARCC’s trainings are awesome. They’re 40 hours of intense education - you’ll absorb more than you think you’re absorbing, I promise. You learn from various phenomenal BARCC staff, as well as great presenters from local organizations like Fenway Health, The Network/La Red, the SANE program, Casa Myrna Vasquez, REACH, the Boston Police Department, and more. Months of planning and scheduling presenters, interviewing volunteers, photocopying and obsessive organization result in one week that manages to fully prepare 25-30 new volunteers, interns, and staff to kick butt on the hotline, as medical advocates, and as CAPS volunteers.
Are you interested in volunteering? Of course you are. You’re awesome. BARCC’s awesome. You should be awesome together. So go check out our volunteer opportunities! The next information and interview sessions will be August 2 and 11, and the training is August 23-27. Go ahead and apply. I haven’t gotten any applications in two days. FEED ME, SEYMOUR.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. Jennifer is a brand-new CAPS volunteer who just got through this training, and I will let her tell you all about it:
I’m writing this as part of BARCC’s latest volunteer training class. As I type this, it’s been just shy of a week since our graduation.
I came into writing this post trying to decide how I was going to approach the topics of ‘why volunteer at BARCC?’ and ‘what do new volunteers go through?’
The reasons why invariably center around ‘I want to help stop sexual violence’. That’s the single best motivation, but I’d like to add a few more reasons why volunteering at BARCC is so rewarding.
One of the biggest reasons: the people. On that first day of training, you’re going to look around that room of twenty-five or so people and ask yourself if you’re going to get along, if you’re going to bond with everyone, and what it’s going to be like during the harder parts of training.
The answer to that first question is, for me, a resounding ‘yes’. Everyone in the room came in with their own reasons for being there, but by the end of the first day, one thing became clear: every single person in that room is passionate about and dedicated to the idea of putting an end to sexual violence.
This also extends out to the facilitators and everyone who gave presentations, whether that’s inside BARCC or from outside organizations. The feeling of coming together with people from so many varied backgrounds for a single goal is indescribable.
The training itself is a reason why volunteering is rewarding. I will not say that it isn’t challenging - it is. It challenges you intellectually, it challenges you emotionally, it challenges you socially, and it can even challenge you physically. That said: the challenge comes with an unbelievable support system, in the form of your training group and the facilitators. You’ll also learn skills to help you do self-care on your own. This is by no means an insurmountable challenge, and you won’t be alone.
But what’s it actually like?
It’s one 40-hour workweek, broken up into individual sessions - some with BARCC volunteers and staff, others with outside organizations. There will be moments when you laugh with each other - and to further explain, it’s because a lot of the trainers will use humor as a teaching tool - and moments when you’ll want to cry together.
These sessions cover a lot of different topics, ranging from the legal issues associated with sexual violence to the personal impact of sexual violence in different populations. Even as someone who considered herself pretty knowledgeable about all the different training topics, I walked away from every session with an expanded knowledge base.
That base is the biggest single reward you’ll take away from training. I came home with three different binders full of information and notes. That may not be the same for everyone, as I am a compulsive note-taker, but the point still stands: you come away with that knowledge base and the skills to use it.
It’s by turns exhilarating and overwhelming, but I don’t think there was a single person in the room that regretted the experience by the end of the week. It’s amazing.
Volunteering for BARCC is both a time commitment and a learning commitment, but the rewards are very, very worth it. If you’ve been thinking about maybe volunteering, I can’t recommend doing it strongly enough.
Thanks, Jen! We’re glad you’re here. :) And once again, welcome to all of our new volunteers!