03/25/2020|Inside Verizon

Helping those helping others.

By: Jessica Bonardi

When domestic abuse advocates are forced to work remotely, V Teamers answer the call.

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“For our clients, this can quite literally be a matter of life and death.”

That’s Marcey Bryant, the Marketing, Fundraising and Events Specialist for the Family Justice Center of Erie County in Buffalo, New York. The agency’s mission is to help victims of domestic violence and relationship abuse.

“There have been a number of homicides related to domestic violence across the country over the past year,” she said “We want to help our clients come up with safety plans and get them to a place where they are able to move forward and gain control of their lives.”

Marcey points out that domestic violence happens within every zip code, education level and religion. “It knows no boundaries.”

She reels off sobering statistics: “One in four women, one in seven men and one in three teens will experience domestic violence or relationship abuse at some point in their lives. Those are big numbers, so we have a huge mountain to climb.”

A critical service indeed.

So it was nerve-wracking a few weeks ago as Marcey followed the news. “When we started hearing about the COVID-19 situation, we knew we’d probably have to make some changes to the way we provide services. Up to this point, we did everything in person because having a personal connection is so important in our work. So the thought of moving everything to the virtual realm was a little scary, especially because we had to do it fairly quickly.”

The most pressing need was getting cell phones so her advocates could work remotely.

“I went to my local Verizon store and both Shane Coburn - a business account manager - as well as Lindsay Adymy - a store rep - were super helpful in getting us set up. We’re a small agency and they found options that met our needs without breaking the bank.”

Marcey can’t stop talking about how helpful Shane and Lindsay were. “One thing that was really cool is when I was in the store looking at phones, Shane said the primary line on the account gets Verizon One Talk. I wasn’t familiar with that service, so he explained that it was an app that masks the phone number of the caller. It worked perfectly for what we were looking to do. It was a huge relief. Our advocates have been using it for the past couple days and it’s been a huge help.”

That level of customer service didn’t end when Marcey left the store. “Shane gave me his business card and kept thinking about us. He clearly took our situation to heart because he followed up with a couple emails and text messages saying ‘I’ve been thinking about you and I think I have something that could work for you.’ It was very reassuring for us knowing we had a personal contact looking after us.”

Thanks to Marcey, Shane and Lindsay for all you do, and for working together to move the world forward.

Note: The VtoV Employee Relief Fund is available to help those V Teamers dealing with issues of domestic violence or relationship abuse.

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