One good thing about Boston is its availability of volunteer opportunities. Given my interest in social-justice-oriented issues, I chose to get involved with Boston Area Rape Crisis Center in an effort to play a role in challenging the gender-based power dynamics in our culture that cause and perpetuate sexual violence. As mentioned previously, I've been working as a Peer Supervisor for BARCC's Medical Advocacy program for about five months, having volunteered as a Medical Advocate for three years prior to that. Our work is tough, involving late-night trips to emergency rooms to support rape survivors and two-to-three monthly meetings during which we discuss our cases and are provided with further training and support.
Despite the often somber nature of our work, the annual gala, which took place last night, provides us with an opportunity to just deck out and mingle with fellow BARCC supporters, as well as listen to powerful guest speakers over a fancy-shmancy dinner. I, unfortunately, missed this year's featured talk as, given that I was on shift as supervisor, I had to step out in order to field a case. Despite this unfortunate burst of reality amidst clinking wine glasses and swanky jazz music, it was nice to return from my supervisory duties to a banquet hall full of people committed to ending sexual violence and supporting sexual-assault survivors, just like the one I had been serving minutes prior.
Luckily, not only was I surrounded by fellow Medical Advocacy team members, as well as accompanied by my partner of five years, I also got to experience some MSPP pride at the gala - BARCC represents one of MSPP's amazing second-year practicum sites, and my good friend Nadia serves as its current practicum intern. Given that my BARCC work involves serving sexual-assault survivors in a hospital/medical context immediately after the trauma has occurred, I have gained, through my conversations with Nadia, a richer perspective concerning the long-term psychotherapy-based "recovery" process. It was awesome to unite with Nadia - in our sexy dresses, toting our fine wine - to celebrate our and others' active commitment to this significant cause.
Overall, I'm so glad to have found this amazing organization - for all those new to or planning on relocating to Boston, I recommend exploring and establishing a niche for yourself within the volunteer community of Boston! If you're particularly interested in getting involved with BARCC's services, proceed to www.barcc.org for further info.
(P.S. If you didn't get my throwback hip-hop reference in the title of this blog, as many of my twenty-something-year-old friends sadly did not, then you were not cool in 2001. Either that or you were very cool...)