Ten Nonprofit Agencies in Massachusetts Will Use Technology to Improve Services for Domestic Violence Victims

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. - Ten nonprofit agencies in Massachusetts that provide assistance to victims of domestic violence will be able to use technology to more efficiently and effectively deliver programs and services, thanks to a $100,000 contribution from the Verizon foundation.

During October -- Domestic Violence Awareness Month -- the Verizon Foundation is awarding 10 grants of $10,000 each to the agencies, which focus on victim services and prevention.    The recipients will use the funds to integrate technology into their services by upgrading Web sites, delivering online training, making computers available to clients, and using e-mail and Web-based technology to distribute information and reach a wider audience.

The recipients  are: Casa Myrna Vasquez, Boston; Close to Home, Dorchester; Domestic Violence Services of Central Middlesex, Concord; New Bedford Women's Shelter; Portal to Hope, Salisbury; REACH  Beyond Domestic Violence, Waltham; Wayside Youth and Family Support Center, Framingham; Womanshelter/Compañeras, Springfield; YWCA of Greater Lawrence; and Women of Means, Wellesley.

"Domestic violence is a silent epidemic that affects our entire society - regardless of race, education, or socio-economic level," said Donna Cupelo, Verizon region president of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  "To help combat this serious issue, Verizon works in partnership with nonprofits to prevent domestic violence and to help thousands of victims.  The recipients of the Verizon Domestic Violence Technology Solutions awards are really making a difference in their communities."

Verizon is honoring the recipients at a ceremony at 2 p.m. today at Wayside Youth and Family Services in Framingham.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, is committed to improving literacy and K-12 education; fostering awareness and prevention of domestic violence; and promoting the use of technology in health-care delivery.  In 2006, the foundation awarded more than $69 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched charitable donations from Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $29 million in combined contributions. Under the foundation's Verizon Volunteer initiative, one of the nation's largest employee-volunteer programs, company employees and retirees have also contributed nearly 3 million hours of community service since Verizon's inception in 2000.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 62 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon has a diverse workforce of more than 238,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $88 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.


2007 Verizon Domestic Violence Technology Solutions Recipients

Casa Myrna Vasquez, Boston:
Casa Myrna Vasquez will use the grant to develop a Web site as a portal to its S.T.A.R. (Safety, Trust and Relationships) peer-led, teen-dating violence prevention program.  This Web site will expand the reach of the program and create new opportunities for teens to exchange ideas, express concerns, ask questions, and strengthen their commitment to avoiding high-risk behaviors in their intimate relationships. Currently, STAR's teen peer educators lead workshops at the Boston public schools, after-school centers, faith-based organizations and health care centers. 

Close to Home (C2h), Dorchester:
C2h received funds to launch the second phase of its public awareness campaign in Dorchester.  A continuation of its 2006 campaign, Close to Home's 2007 campaign, which will be delivered in English and Vietnamese via electronic media, will be aimed at positioning sexual, dating and domestic violence as a priority community issue by sparking public conversation and action around domestic and dating violence.  As part of the campaign, C2h will create a highly interactive Web site that will be a resource center of domestic violence prevention tools and information for members of the C2h Network. 

Domestic Violence Services of Central Middlesex (DVS), Concord:
DVS will use the grant to design a Web site that will incorporate its newly expanded and updated domestic violence resource directory, which will provide information for all aspects of the general public in multiple languages.  The site will include information about the early signs of abusive behavior, dating violence, intimate partner violence, the impact on children who witness domestic abuse, abuse of the elderly, abuse of disabled individuals, cultural differences, orders of protection, and links to resource agencies and a calendar of events. 

New Bedford Women's Shelter:
The Women's Center at the New Bedford Women's Shelter will use the grant to build a comprehensive database application to enhance its tracking capabilities and improve domestic violence services delivered in the community. Using data collected in the day-to-day operation of the center, the database will generate detailed reports for each staff member or program. This tool will be help staff run the shelter more efficiently by compartmentalizing the breakdown of expenses for each program, the hours a particular counselor spends with clients, and which program should be attributed with a particular line-item expense.

Portal to Hope (PTH), Salisbury:
PTH will use funds to offer direct care services to people affected by domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking crimes. The grant will primarily be used to develop a Web site that will make services more widely available and help connect victims with legal counsel.   Some of the other services available include crisis intervention, counseling and support groups, emergency shelter and housing assistance, job placement, liaison services, and youth programs. PTH also will provide, in connection with this grant, public educational forums on violence prevention, domestic violence awareness and rape aggressive defense. 

REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, Waltham:
REACH will use funds to support its REACHing Teen Voices program and the Virtual Community P.A.V.E (Peers Against ViolencE).  The REACHing Teen Voices program provides education and outreach around dating violence to middle-school, high-school and college-aged youth, and associated adults (parents, teachers, social service providers) to support efforts to end dating violence. P.A.V.E. provides a forum for online discussions between youth-service providers and teens to share ideas and resources on ending dating violence. The online community will encourage peer discussion about dating violence while fostering support for healthy relationships.

Wayside Youth and Family Support Center, Framingham:
Wayside Youth and Family Support Center will use the funds for technology to improve the delivery of the services of its Trauma Intervention Services Program.  These programs include SAFEPLAN, a court advocacy program for victims of domestic violence; Child Witness to Violence, which addresses the needs of those children who have witnessed domestic abuse, community violence, and/or experienced bullying; Homicide Bereavement, which provides support for those who lost loved ones to domestic or community violence; Rape Crisis, which works with primary victims of sexual assault and their significant others; and Men Against Violence, which focuses on eliminating domestic violence by working with male perpetrators.

Womanshelter/Compañeras (W/C), Springfield:
The Technology Enhancement Project will allow W/C to upgrade its existing Web site to make it easier to navigate and provide access to critical information applicable to individual situations. W/C also will purchase additional computers that enable providers to work more efficiently, freeing up time for more direct services, and provide victims with computer access without fear that their batterer would be checking the computer history.

YWCA of Greater Lawrence:
The YWCA of Greater Lawrence will use the grant to fund the YWCA Economic Empowerment Project, which will help victims living in their transition house attain skills that will prepare them for self-sufficiency and employment. The goal of the project is for participants to develop the self-sufficiency skills needed to support themselves and their children and to avoid future abuse. Participants will attend classes and workshops in a computer lab that will help them develop the skills needed to access and maintain permanent housing, adequate income from employment, and health resources.

Women of Means, Wellesley:
Women of Means will use funds to harness technology resources to improve access and care management for its clients as well as to provide and maintain up-to-date information for providers caring for the homeless, poor and battered women and their children. Once established, successful aspects of the project will become a permanent part of the Women of Means' outreach and advocacy program. Examples include the availability of portable laptops with wireless Internet access in shelters, and the use of cell phones and the Internet for insurance enrollment and status verification, or for scheduling appointments.