Low-Income Immigrant Domestic Violence Survivors in Washington Metropolitan Area Get Much-Needed Emotional and Legal Support With $10,000 Verizon Foundation Grant to Ayuda

In an effort to help Ayuda increase support services for low-income immigrant survivors of domestic violence in the Washington metropolitan area, the Verizon Foundation has awarded the agency a $10,000 grant.

The funding will support Ayuda's Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program, which provides information on available protections and services for immigrant victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.  The program also aims to increase survivors' safety and self-sufficiency through comprehensive services that are linguistically and culturally appropriate.

For example, program components help survivors understand the connection between the abuse they have suffered and their destructive thinking patterns or dysfunctional behavior; promote advocacy for victims of domestic violence; and inform survivors of their legal rights and options.

"We are truly thankful and appreciative of all the support Verizon has given us over the years," said Jaime Farrant, Ayuda's executive director.  "We have had a wonderful relationship with Verizon, whose support has helped make the work we do possible."

Mario Acosta-Velez, Verizon's director of government and external affairs, said, "One of Verizon's key goals is to raise awareness of domestic violence and to aid in its prevention.  Domestic violence touches every segment of society, and, while the problem is universal, the solutions are not."

Domestic violence and emotional abuse are behaviors that one person uses in a relationship to control another person.  Partners may be married, unmarried, heterosexual, gay or lesbian, living together, separated or dating.  The violence takes many forms and can happen all the time or once in a while.

According to Farrant, Ayuda is uniquely positioned to address low-income immigrants' needs and deliver effective emergency and long-term social services, as well as comprehensive legal services.  In addition, the agency collaborates with a number of other organizations to ensure that all of its clients' needs are met.  For example, Ayuda provides clients with referrals to other service providers for housing, medical care and job training, among other needs. 

With funding from the Verizon Foundation, Ayuda will be able to work towards achieving its 2012 goals of conducting 25 "Know Your Rights" community presentations about protections and services for domestic violence and sexual assault victims.  Ayuda also will provide walk-in legal consultations to 500 clients; legal services in 325 domestic violence, family and immigration cases; walk-in social service consultations to 85 clients; and clinical case-management services in 75 cases.

About Ayuda Inc.
Ayuda's mission is to protect the rights of low-income immigrants in the D.C. metropolitan area.  Ayuda is the only nonprofit provider in the D.C. metro area that provides a wide range of immigration and family law assistance, as well as social services support, for all immigrants - including men, women and children - from anywhere in the world.  This comprehensive and open approach gives all immigrants a single resource to tap.  Ayuda's specialized services for immigrant children and for immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking are truly unique in the area.  Ayuda is well known in the immigrant community and provides linguistically and culturally appropriate services.  In 2009, the agency provided assistance in over 2,300 cases including immigration, family law and social services support.  To learn more, visit www.ayudainc.org.

About the Verizon Foundation
The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon, uses its technology, financial resources and partnerships to address critical social issues, with a focus on education and domestic violence prevention.  In 2010, the foundation awarded nearly $67 million to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad.  Under the HopeLine from Verizon program, no-longer-used wireless phones and accessories are collected at Verizon Wireless stores, or by mail, to help victims of domestic violence.  The devices are refurbished or recycled in an environmentally friendly way.  Since 2001, HopeLine has collected more than 8 million phones, properly disposed of 1.7 million no-longer-used wireless phones, and kept more than 210 tons of electronic waste and batteries out of landfills.  For store locations and to learn how to donate a phone using a postage-paid mailing label, visit www.verizonwireless.com/hopeline.  For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.