This is part of a series highlighting BARCC volunteers and the vital work they do in the mission to end sexual violence. Read all the posts in the series, and read more about volunteering with BARCC.
Name: Esteban M. Guijarro
Volunteer program: Hotline
How long have you volunteered for BARCC? 2.5 years
Why do you volunteer with BARCC? It is difficult to pinpoint one reason why I volunteer with BARCC. Fundamentally, I believe that there is a declining sense of altruism that needs to be reinvigorated by volunteering and offering thankless contributions to our planet. Throughout the past decade, I have volunteered in varying degrees for Planned Parenthood, National Eating Disorders Association, Harvard's Eating Concerns and Hotline Outreach, just to name a few.
By virtue of my personal struggles with mental health and an eating disorder, I found that shame and isolation are insidious and omnipresent. Though this may be true, shame and isolation can be combated by transparency, camaraderie, and compassion. My recovery is quintessentially rooted in the realization that my suffering can be curated into support for others. As such, one of my unilateral values is advocating for marginalized groups and educating others. In order to do so, though, I feel that it is important to recognize one’s privilege and strengths.
As a man, I also think it is essential to discredit the notion that sexual violence, reproductive rights, etc. are specific to women. Consequently, I feel that there are not enough men who volunteer for causes that are predominantly associated with women. By volunteering, I feel that I am not only an example to other men but also an ally to men who are affected by sexual violence.
What do you do when you're not volunteering? When not volunteering on the BARCC hotline, I can be found doing a number of things. First and foremost, I am a voracious consumer of nonfiction books and publications such as the NY Times, Vox, and the New Yorker. I also do my best to stay civically engaged by volunteering with the ACLU, along with being a fervent supporter and activist for Planned Parenthood. Additionally, I thoroughly enjoy traveling independently—I visited Cuba earlier this fall, and spent part of my summer in Curaçao and Mexico. Since my family is from Spain, I also often find myself in Sevilla.
As a recent graduate of the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts Professional Chef's Program, I dedicate a lot of my time and budget to gastronomy—whether it's producing food myself or sampling different cuisines with friends. In addition, I enjoy challenging myself both physically and mentally at the gym. Oh, and I work at Harvard Law School Executive Education.
What's your favorite part of supporting survivors? My favorite part of supporting survivors is being an ally and confidant for individuals who are disenfranchised and neglected by society. As a hotline volunteer, I support survivors in a plethora of ways. Sometimes I am simply a validating soundboard, and other times I am a crucial resource in a moment of acute crisis. Volunteering for BARCC—along with other organizations—is incredibly humbling and amplifies my sense of gratitude. It reminds me that I am a fairly blessed individual; while I am inherently privileged in many ways, I feel less guilty for such privilege by using it to help others.
You have your own late night talk show, who do you invite as your first guest? Ha! I am often told I need my own talk show. If and when that comes to fruition, my first interview guest would be Cecile Richards or America Ferrera. My musical guest would have to be Toni Braxton or Ariana Grande.
Are you interested in volunteering for BARCC? We have a variety of opportunities—check them out and apply for an upcoming training today!