Literacy Grant Empowers Delaware's Domestic Violence Victims

WILMINGTON, Del. - Verizon Foundation today awarded a $10,000 grant to the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence (DCADV) to establish a literacy program that will enable Latina women living at the Abriendo Puertas shelter in Sussex County to read and write, first in Spanish and later in English.

"Literacy is power. It's key to the long-term economic survival of battered women," said Carol Post, executive director of DCADV. "This grant will ensure that shelter residents are able to develop a critical means of independence for themselves and their children. With literacy skills, their chances of breaking the cycle of abuse and poverty increase dramatically."

The Verizon grant will provide the coalition and the shelter with funds to launch a one-year literacy program. These funds will provide an instructor, materials and computer hardware and software, initially to help abused women develop written Spanish language skills. The grant also will ensure that adequate on-site day care services are available to the women enrolled in the program.

"As the Latino population expands to serve the growing business interests of southern Delaware, so does the need for social and intervention services," said Maria Picazo, director of Abriendo Puertas. "The cry for a long-range response to domestic violence has been prevalent in this community for too long. Verizon's literacy grant offers us a giant step toward helping abused Latinas survive - and thrive in the English-speaking world."

Learning to trust in America's traditional sources of help, such as the police, can be terrifying for many Latina victims of domestic violence, according to Picazo. They recall corrupt law enforcement officers back home who protect abusers. And when victims can't read, either in their native language or English, finding resources in America is nearly impossible.

"We are proud to support southern Delaware's Latino community in this critical effort," said Joshua W. Martin III, president of Verizon Delaware. "This literacy program absolutely is the right thing to do and we are confident it will yield great results."

Verizon Foundation supports a variety of programs that focus on improving basic and computer literacy, bridging the digital divide, enriching communities through technology and creating a skilled work force. The foundation promotes partnerships in technology with organizations serving the needs of diverse communities, people with disabilities, and the economically and socially disadvantaged. The foundation also supports Verizon Volunteers, an incentive program that encourages Verizon employees to volunteer in their communities and provides matching gifts to nonprofit organizations. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation on the Internet.

Verizon Communications

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 128.5 million access line equivalents and 28.7 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with 256,000 employees and approximately $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.