From our volunteers:
“Volunteering is the act of showing up and being the calming voice at the other end of the line; You are someone who is truly present and there to listen, who offers hope and support, and has the privilege of being a part of another’s healing. It profoundly changes your own experience within the world, as well as others.” -J.M.
“Especially in these turbulent, violent times, it feels good to connect to someone in a positive, real way, and to feel like you may have helped someone with their healing.” -A.R.
“Being able to show up for survivors and hold space for their trauma is amazing and extremely healing.” – L.R.
What do volunteers do for BAWAR?
Volunteers work with BAWAR in various capacities, depending on their interests, availability, and skills. Volunteers who become California State Certified Sexual Assault Counselors help staff our 24-hour sexual assault crisis line, which is available to all survivors of sexual assault and their significant others. Our counselors also provide accompaniment services to Highland Hospital, Washington Hospital and local police departments. Additional volunteer opportunities include: office support, fundraising, computer assistance, and community outreach.
Who Can Apply to Be a Sexual Assault Counselor?
It is not necessary for you to have prior counseling experience or any particular licenses or degrees. Thorough preparation is provided during the training. Our current volunteer pool includes people from all walks of life and personal backgrounds, who share a deep commitment to supporting survivors and working to end sexual violence. We accept people of all genders in the counselor training, however we do require you to be over 18 to volunteer.
What’s the Training Like?
Our next training will take place in Oakland from September 25 – December 13, 2018 for eleven (11) weeks on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Training covers a wide variety of topics, including: myths and realities of sexual violence, oppression, trauma and trauma response, counseling skills, advocacy, intersections of gender/race/class/orientation/ability/documentation, hospital accompaniment procedures, and role plays. Successful graduates of the BAWAR training receive a California State Certification in Sexual Assault Counseling (you must be able to attend all sessions).
The only cost for potential BAWAR volunteers in this training is a sliding scale $50-$100 non-refundable fee for materials (payment plans are available). Participants who complete the training successfully may be offered a volunteer hotline advocate and/or SART (accompaniment) advocate position, although it is not guaranteed. If you are looking to take the training for professional development and certification without the volunteer commitment, the charge for the training is $300. ***Potential volunteers are prioritized for spaces in this training.
Upcoming Training Dates:
Fall 2018 – September 25- December 13 (11 weeks, Oakland) Application deadline: September 7th
Tuesdays and Thursdays 6pm-9pm
Spring 2019 – February 5- April 18th (11 weeks, Fremont) Application deadline: January 11th
Tuesdays and Thursdays 6pm-9pm
***Both Oakland and Fremont training locations are accessible via public transportation, ramps and elevators.
What Happens After The Training?
In exchange for the 66-hour training and certification, we require a commitment to volunteer for BAWAR for 36 hours of on-call time each month, for a period of 9 months or the equivalent of 324 hours. (your commitment begins the month after your successful completion of the training). This means that during those 36 on-call hours you will be available to take crisis line calls or meet a survivor at the hospital/police station. You will have the flexibility to sign up for shifts that fit into your schedule.
I’m Interested, What Can I Do Next?
If you are interested in the BAWAR training, please fill out our online Volunteer Application. Once your application is submitted, BAWAR will reach out to you before the start of the next training cycle (August 2018 for the Fall training) . Please feel free to contact us with any questions between training cycles.