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slipjig needs ideas for lists. Prompt him here!
Again, Team Venturites, if you haven't yet made a card, do so and post it here. I'll pimp you with or without it, but they're eye-catching and fun.
And again I say, the auctions are up! Each of these pieces will have a short-short story written about them during my 24-hour bender on Saturday. I encourage you strongly - please post about this, spread it around. The more eyeballs, the more bids, the more money for BARCC.
I'd say "Lot of people ask me why I volunteer for BARCC...", but good a segue as that is, they don't. They already know. I volunteer for the Survivor Speakers' Bureau because it's important stuff and I can where many can't. Why take on another volunteer job at BARCC? Well, again, because I can - and now I'm talking about the lack of a day job. I'm available to do midday tablings and workshops and speaking engagements. But why CAPS?
Okay - what's CAPS?
BARCC has three main branches (and lots of little ones). The medical advocacy program was my first choice - being the first responder, going to the hospital to help the survivor in the moments and hours after the rape or assault. Why did I ultimately choose not to do that? My body. Medical advocacy calls can be, in some cases, up to eight hours long - and I cannot rely upon my body's ability to function for as long as two hours.
People think of the hotline as being a line of first response, too, and often it is. But you can also call days, weeks, months, years after the assault. Anytime you need help. They get people beginning to come to terms with stuff that happened in their childhood, even. Hotline volunteers get an exhaustive training in pretty much anything that might come up in talking to a survivor or just about any kind of sexual assault, from childhood sexual assault to domestic violence, stranger rape to acquaintance rape to date rape, groping, sexual harassment, stalking, you name it. They have a big huge binder full of resources on this. Call them, and they will help you in the moment and help you find the help you need beyond that moment.
Then there's CAPS. Community Outreach and Prevention Services. Can you find the word in there that drew me to CAPS?
The description of CAPS from BARCC's site: "CAPS presenters conduct workshops, professional trainings, clothesline project displays as well as informational tables at health and education fairs. Audiences vary and include middle and high schools, colleges, universities, community groups, shelters, conferences and various service providers. Presentations include rape and sexual assault awareness and prevention, sexual harassment, bystander intervention, first responder trainings, and dating violence." This is still applicable, but CAPS' mission has expanded to much that I had to have another interview with the program's leader so she could make sure I was up for what CAPS was changing into! :)
The other branches of BARCC are primarily providing resources for the survivor and loved ones after an assault has occurred.
CAPS? We're about nipping that shit in the bud. The new focus here is on stuff like respecting boundaries - the new middle school workshop, in part, involves distributing Hershey's Kisses to the kids, and cards telling them how they feel about the Kisses. One student may have a card that says she wants to keep all of the kisses and will not give a single one away, one might be willing to give away three but no more, one may have the mission to get as many as they can from other people, and will stop at nothing. So it's about building those boundaries, and learning to recognize and respect them in others.
We're taking a new angle on "community", too. CAPS volunteers are now asked to identify a community that they're part of, and find out what they need. One volunteer is focusing on the immigrant population, working with them in churches. One's strictly local - her town, her neighborhood. And it's not about imposing a program on the community. It's about figuring out what each individual community needs, and providing that to them.
The mission of CAPS is social change. We are actively working to create a present where survivors of rape and sexual assault have all of the resources they need to start healing, and a future where rape and sexual assault are no longer tacitly accepted as a fact of life.
Along with manning tables and doing the Clothesline Project and all of that. We're busy bees. But we're doing important stuff.
One longtime BARCC volunteer said, when we were mired in the brutal Day 4 of training, that this was about hope. And she's right. Grim as this is, the one thing all BARCC volunteers have in common is hope. If we didn't believe that this sort of change was possible, we wouldn't be here.
I believe. Yes, even having gone through what I have. I believe that we can effect change.
100% of the proceeds of these auctions go to BARCC, to fund more programs, to help more people. If you don't see anything there that flicks your Bic, I hope you'll pass the link on anyway - one of your friends might love one of the artifacts! And I hope that you'll sponsor me.