GREENVILLE, S.C. — This past October, Priscilla, a recent victim of domestic violence, huddled in the corner of her home with her two small children and used a donated Bell Atlantic Mobile wireless phone to call the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for help as her abuser was coming to her house.
"When Priscilla first came into my office, her abuser had assaulted her badly and threatened her life," said Monique Taylor, counselor for United Family Services' Victim's Assistance in Charlotte, N.C. "Because she did not have a phone of her own, I gave her one of the wireless phones Bell Atlantic Mobile donated for our clients. A few days later she used it to call for help when her abuser again threatened her. Thanks to the phone, Priscilla's abuser was arrested and prosecuted."
Bell Atlantic Mobile's Wireless at Work community service program uses the company's wireless technology to help groups promoting domestic violence awareness and public safety. Nearly 1,000 individuals have benefited from donated wireless phones and voice mail boxes during the last six months of 1999, according to survey statistics.
During the second half of last year, 160 individuals in the Southeast used wireless phones donated by the company for personal safety, 20 used the phones for crime watch, and 14 contacted social services, according to a recent survey of groups participating in the program.
Since 1996, Bell Atlantic Mobile has donated more than 450 wireless phones and service valued at more than $75,000 to 27 agencies in the Southeast.
"We hope these donated phones never have to be used, but we are glad to know they were able to help in a situation like Priscilla's," said Jerry Fountain, vice president of Bell Atlantic Mobile's Southeast region covering North Carolina, South Carolina and parts of Georgia. "We have made it a priority to increase the resources we dedicate to our 'Wireless at Work…' program, to benefit additional social service organizations and their clients each year."
Donated Voice Mail Boxes Also Make Impact
During the latter half of 1999, the company's HopeLine® program, which donates wireless voice mail boxes to residents of shelters who don't have access to a personal phone, has helped 323 people contact family and friends, 312 retain permanent living quarters, 261 secure employment, 180 contact social services, 114 find child care, and 107 to take care of health related issues. Since 1995, Bell Atlantic Mobile has donated more than 600 wireless voice mail boxes valued at more than $34,000 to 26 agencies in the Southeast.
The survey also collected several real-life examples of HopeLine's benefits to those most in need.
"We have one phone line here at the shelter and, until we received the voice mail boxes, shelter residents had only one way of getting important messages and keeping in touch with those essential to their transition," said Cynthia Martin, program administrator for Killingsworth Home in Columbia, S.C. "Recently, one of our clients on her first day of a new job received an encouraging message from her Narcotics Anonymous sponsor congratulating her on her success."
Bell Atlantic Mobile also donated $1,000 during the last six months to the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and to the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.
Donation Expands To Fight Dating Violence On Campuses
During October's Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Bell Atlantic Mobile expanded its Wireless at Work program by teaming up with the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCCADV) to donate 150 Motorola wireless phones to targeted universities across the state.
"By providing wireless phones to victims of dating violence on college campuses, we and Bell Atlantic Mobile are supplying a tool that provides some peace of mind and could also save lives," said Mary Beth Loucks-Sorrell of NCCADV. "We both have recognized the crisis of domestic violence exists on campuses and in homes and are offering a solution today that can help ease the fear and isolation that result from sexual assault and dating violence."
The following universities have received wireless phone donations:
- Duke University
- High Point University
- North Carolina State University
- University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
- University of North Carolina-Charlotte
- University of North Carolina-Greensboro
- Wake Forest University
Also targeted for the program in early 2000 are:
- University of North Carolina-Asheville
- Western Carolina University
- Appalachian State University
Social service organization contacts: The following contacts will be available for comment on their organization's participation in Bell Atlantic Mobile's "Wireless at Work…" program:
- North Carolina:
- Browning Brewton, domestic violence program director, Cleveland Co. Abuse Prevention Council, Shelby, N.C., 704/487-9325.
- Shelia Corey, program coordinator, Community Link, Charlotte, 704/334-7288.
- Monique Taylor, counselor, United Family Services' Victim's Assistance, Charlotte, 704/336-4126.
- Cynthia Martin, program administrator, Killingsworth Home, Columbia, S.C., 803/771-6359.
- Charles Reece, captain, Simpsonville Police Department, Simpsonville, S.C., 864/967-9534.
- Mary Beth Loucks-Sorrell, North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Raleigh, N.C., 919/956-9124.