A few months ago, I was having a conversation with a young couple who wanted to support BARCC, and they asked me an incredible yet simple question: “How can we have the biggest impact on BARCC’s growth?” Their question transformed our conversation. It showed me that they wanted to be partners in our growth to reach and support more survivors. Because of their openness, our conversation uncovered that not only do they have deep ties to the Waltham community—where we are in the process of opening a new location—but that other members of their family might be interested in contributing to our expansion there as well.
I'll get back to this particular family in a moment, but first I want to share the realization this conversation sparked for me.
It’s been a busy year for BARCC, to say the least. Since the the #MeToo movement went viral in October 2017, BARCC has seen exponential increases in requests for all our services—hotline calls, prevention and education workshops, legal advocacy, counseling, and more. In a previous post, I discussed the limitations of the #MeToo movement, one of which is that it places the burden of change on individual survivors as opposed to communities and offenders, and the work that still needs to be done to ensure the movement is inclusive to all survivors. Despite these limitations, as I’m sure you’ve seen as well, the impact of #MeToo cannot be denied.
The movement brought with it a wave of new energy and opportunities for growth. And sustained media attention on the issue of sexual violence helped raise BARCC’s profile locally and nationally. As energized as these changes make me, I have been thinking about how much more work needs to be done to ensure that this period of attention and energy translates into real, lasting change. In five, 10, or 15 years, how will we look back on what we’ve accomplished? I believe the answer lies in asking that simple question:“How can I have the biggest impact?”
The answer to that question will look different for everyone. For some, it may be focusing on their own healing journey and taking care of themselves. In the past few months, many people in our community have provided BARCC with critical support in the form of Amazon wish list items, committing to monthly donations, or attending a BARCC event. The impact of each one of those actions translates into a community, a city, and a country that is healthy, engaged, informed, and ready to work together to support survivors and end sexual violence.
Thanks to you, BARCC has been able to continue to grow to meet the increased requests for services we’re seeing as a result of #MeToo. As part of our community, you believe in our mission to end sexual violence. And you understand that by supporting BARCC, you are investing in the power of survivor-driven healing and survivor-centered education and prevention. Our experience as a direct service provider is what makes our community- and state-level work so effective. We listen to survivors, identify where there are gaps in resources or services, and collaborate with our partners to improve systems that help survivors find paths to healing and justice.
You know that when you support BARCC, you support survivors at every level; from the deeply personal nature of counseling services to advocating for survivors at the state level to the ambitious scope of changing the national conversation around sexual violence. When you support BARCC, you say, “I believe you, I am here for you” to a survivor calling our 24-7 hotline. When you support BARCC, you are providing information to the survivor who wants to learn more about their legal options. When you support BARCC, you are there in the State House with us advocating for legislation that supports trauma survivors.
Our Waltham location is a great demonstration of this model in action. For years, we’ve been providing the majority of our in-person services in our Cambridge headquarters and Boston location. In listening to the experiences of the survivors and loved ones we serve, our counselors, case managers, and legal advocates heard that transportation was a significant barrier to receiving services in our Cambridge office. Transportation and childcare costs, time spent traveling, missed shifts at work or school, and lack of accessible bathrooms and elevators can be obstacles to using BARCC services. We’re proud of the free, comprehensive services we provide, but we know that we can’t have the impact survivors deserve if they aren’t able to make their appointments.
Because of the engagement and commitment of donors in the BARCC community, we have more flexibility and resources to grow in response to survivors’ needs. I don’t think I can overstate how much we appreciate and rely on the support of friends like you who share our vision for ending sexual violence.
The young couple I mentioned earlier did indeed support our Waltham expansion—and because of their ambassadorship, they helped us secure an additional donation from their family. Their generosity of time, networks, and resources are the reason we have been able to make our Waltham location a reality. As we plan our kick-off open house (stay tuned!), we are that much closer to our goal of making BARCC services accessible to more survivors in the Greater Boston area.
In addition to increased access to services for survivors and their loved ones, our Waltham home will allow for more collaboration with local leaders, businesses, schools, and community members—broadening the network of positive changemakers.
This particular family took the time to ask themselves, and ask me, how they could have the biggest impact on serving survivors and ending sexual violence. Now I would like to ask you the same question—what does impact look like for you? It may look similar to this story—perhaps you have an employer who matches charitable donations or a donor-advised fund for annual giving to BARCC. But it may look different—attending an event with friends or colleagues who are not familiar with BARCC, speaking up for survivors in your community, inviting BARCC to host a Denim Day or luncheon talk at your workplace, volunteering your time, or more. There are endless ways to be an advocate for survivors and an ambassador for BARCC’s mission. As we grow together as a community, I look forward to learning what lasting change looks like for you.
Asking where you can have the biggest impact is one of many ways to be a BARCC supporter. Below are some ideas for how you can get involved as an ambassador of BARCC:
- Share this blog post with a friend or on social media
- Bring a friend to a BARCC event
- Make our free and confidential services possible by joining our Monthly Sustainers with a gift of any amount
- Share why you support BARCC with a family member or friend
- Attend our Gala on November 9, or share connections to companies who might be interested in sponsorship opportunities or donating exciting auction items
- Stay informed to have meaningful discussions
- Believe and support survivors