BEDMINSTER, NJ — In an effort to get its innovative services into the hands of people in need more quickly and effectively, Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile today announced the launch of "Wireless at Work...," a national umbrella program coordinating all of the company's charitable initiatives. The Wireless at Work program is not directed at financial contributions. Instead, it was developed to offer creative solutions through the company's technologies for society's most vexing problems.

Since 1993, Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile's HopeLine® program has helped thousands of homeless individuals through free access to voice mail boxes, giving people a better way to search for jobs, housing, and other services. This year, Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile will extend the program to the issue of domestic violence, supplying victims the confidential communications they need to break away from their abusers and improve their lives.

According to the Federal Bureau of investigation, one third of the women murdered in the United States every year are killed as a result of domestic violence. In addition, battering is the single major cause of injury to women, more frequent than auto accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.

HopeLine: A Tool for Direct and Confidential Communication

"Several years ago we recognized that in order for homeless men and women to get back on their feet, they needed a direct connection, one which sidesteps the negative stigma attached to their situation," said Denny Strigl, president and CEO of Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile. "HopeLine uses voice mail technology to offer a real bridge for self-improvement, helping people obtain jobs, find new homes, even receive medical attention."

"What we know now, is that the need for confidential communication doesn't stop with the homeless. Often victims of domestic violence must also find alternate housing, temporary child care, even request police protection, all without the knowledge of their abuser. By making HopeLine available, we're doing what we can to empower victims to seek help and escape this very dangerous environment."

Assisting Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile with the roll-out of the program is Camille Murphy, president of the National Association of Commissions for Women and director of the Office for Women in Westchester County, New York. According to Murphy, the Wireless at Work program could not have come at a better time. "Tighter state and federal budgets, along with other threats to social services, mean that private-sector businesses must become involved in helping women at risk. Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile has taken a giant and much-needed step with this service."

Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile officially kicks off the program today, presenting HopeLine service to the Westchester Coalition of Family Violence Agencies and New Jersey's network of battered women's shelters. Each organization will receive from three to 10 voice mailboxes, accommodating approximately eight clients per box, five calls a day per client. Case workers at each agency will determine who receives the boxes and help them activate the voice mail service. No special equipment is needed.

Measuring the Benefits

Judy Bradsher, a Family Resource Counselor with Sister Care, a women's residential shelter in Columbia, South Carolina, knows first-hand what HopeLine means to victims of domestic violence. One of the first social service agencies to use HopeLine back in 1994, Sister Care has since provided assistance to hundreds of women residents.

"These women arrive at the shelter having lost almost everything -- their home, their self-esteem, and especially their independence," says Bradsher. "HopeLine provides the personal, confidential communication these women need to restore their lives. It's been extremely successful for us."

Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile has provided more than 80 organizations with HopeLine service, making 400 voice mailboxes available throughout the East Coast. For more information on HopeLine or other Wireless at Work programs, organizations may contact Andrea Linskey at 908-306-7845.

With more than three million customers Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile is the largest wireless service provider on the East Coast and the second largest provider in the U.S. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, the company offers a full range of wireless voice, data, and paging communications solutions. Formed in July 1995 through the combination of Bell Atlantic Mobile's and NYNEX Mobile's cellular operations, the company has more than 3,000 employees.