MILWAUKEE, WI — With a sharp focus on the prevention of domestic violence, Verizon Wireless has attacked the issue in venues ranging from Wisconsin shelters for victims of family violence, to corporate training rooms, to the end zones at Lambeau Field.
The nation's largest wireless communications provider is conducting an ongoing public information program, called HopeLineSM, to raise awareness of the domestic violence issue and the prevention steps that can be taken. Major elements have included:
- The donation of 4,000 emergency phones to domestic violence shelters, enabling victims in life-threatening situations to dial 911 and other emergency services at the push of a button.
- The donation of hundreds of phones to domestic violence professionals, caseworkers and victim-assistance volunteers, helping them to stay in touch with both victims and the home office while working in the field.
- The development and distribution of a series of dramatic posters to increase awareness of domestic violence in the workplace.
- The collection of unused wireless handsets that are refurbished and sold with proceeds given to domestic violence shelters. Donations are accepted at all 1,200-plus Verizon Wireless Communications Stores across the country.
"Verizon Wireless' business is built on helping people communicate," said Denny Strigl, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless. "For domestic violence victims who are trying to safeguard themselves and their children from an abuser, communication takes on an even greater significance. With a wireless phone in hand, victims have a vital link to emergency services in times of crisis."
Verizon Wireless regions throughout the country organize and implement the HopeLine program in their respective local communities. They are responsible for conducting awareness-building activities and fundraising events on behalf of local domestic violence shelters.
In Wisconsin, these activities have included the donation of more than 300 emergency 911 phones for victims and more than 30 phones for shelter staffs and advocates.
Six agencies in the Milwaukee area have received and are using these phones, said Tracy Nolan, president, Wisconsin/Illinois Region, Verizon Wireless. While details are confidential, the agencies have received reports from women in crisis who have been saved, helped or comforted through the possession and use of the 911 phones.
"It is gratifying to know these phones are helping women in crises, and we will continue to work with participating agencies in making them available," said Nolan. "We will also continue to look for ways to help build awareness for domestic violence and offer tools to recognize and respond to it."
To date, the company has reached millions of television viewers throughout the state through two separate television public service announcements. One features Green Bay Packers' offensive lineman Marco Rivera and his wife, and the other features Milwaukee Bucks Assistant Coach Terry Stotts and his wife.
Widespread attention to domestic violence was also achieved through a season-long promotion last year involving Verizon Wireless and the Green Bay Packers. Through the program, the company make a $25 donation to Wisconsin domestic violence shelters for every point scored by the Packers during the season and playoffs. The Packers' successful season resulted in contributions from Verizon Wireless that exceeded $10,000.
During the most-recent National Basketball Association season, Verizon Wireless teamed with the Milwaukee Bucks on a domestic violence awareness program, which included a holiday party for children who are victims of domestic violence and a domestic violence awareness night during a Bucks' home game.
Next month, the company will serve as an anchor sponsor of the July 12 (Milwaukee) Brewers Wives Auction, an annual event for Sojourner Truth House, Milwaukee's oldest and largest domestic violence shelter. Verizon Wireless has also hosted free informational luncheons for its employees to familiarize them with the signs of domestic violence and where to go to find help. During the holiday season, company employees also conducted their own "Connecting With Care" toy drive for domestic violence victims and their children. More than 1,000 toys and personal-care items were donated.
"It's a multi-faceted problem that we intend to address through multi-faceted awareness building events," said Nolan. "We look to provide ongoing, direct support and assistance to domestic violence agencies and awareness-building communications to arouse the interest and involvement of the general public."
Verizon Wireless encourages customers who are upgrading their wireless phones to participate in its exclusive HopeLinesm phone recycling program. The national HopeLine program distributes previously owned wireless phones to victims of domestic violence, supports non-profit domestic violence advocacy groups and provides an environmentally safe method for recycling phones. Donations are accepted at all 1,200-plus Verizon Wireless Communications Stores across the country. For additional information, customers may also visit http://www.verizonwireless.com/hopeline.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the nation's leading provider of wireless communications. The company has the largest nationwide wireless voice and data network and 30 million customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at http://www.verizonwireless.com.
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