Verizon Wireless Paves The Way To Youth Empowerment With Pop Music Competition

MINNEAPOLIS, MN — According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four teens will experience abuse in his or her dating relationship by age 18. To help address this issue, Verizon Wireless has teamed up with Cornerstone, a domestic violence agency based in Minnesota, and MTE Inc. in a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of teen dating violence. PAVE (Preventing Abuse and Violence Through Education) the Way Project is designed to promote healthy relationships and empower teens to take a stand against dating violence through the expression of pop music.

Through PAVE the Way Project, seven youth artists aged 13 to 20, from across the country, contributed original songs to the non-profit project to raise awareness of dating violence alongside their peers. The project launches April 10 with an interactive website where songs will be available as free downloads. One new track will be released each Tuesday through May 22 as follows:

April 10: Memphis High, Memphis, Tenn.April 17: Dexter Darden, Los Angeles April 24: Dymond Harding, Ypsilanti, Mich.May 1: Picture Me Broken, Redwood City, Calif.May 8: Charlie Dane, Oyster Bay, N.Y.May 15: Shanell McCoy, MinneapolisMay 22: Conor Flynn, Stamford, Conn.

From May 29 – June 12, the public will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite track at The winning artist will then perform in a recording of a new song written by GRAMMY® Award winner Salvador Santana, collaborating alongside his father, 10-time GRAMMY® Award winner, Carlos Santana. The famed music pair is showing support for this initiative through the power of music to connect with youth around dating violence issues.

"I feel so blessed to be a part of the PAVE The Way Project. It's a wonderful opportunity for me to meet and collaborate with fresh, up-and-coming artists and musicians,” said Salvador Santana. “For those who are involved, we all keep the same goal in mind - we want to continue to help raise awareness against teen dating violence, because the youth are our future."

PAVE the Way Project also serves to teach youth the importance of dating violence awareness and healthy relationships through the use of educational materials. The project’s website includes tips for teens who may find themselves, or a friend, in an unhealthy relationship. Educators can visit to register for free access to the KNOW ABUSE™ curriculum developed by Cornerstone’s school-based violence prevention program staff.

“This campaign provides information in a way young people will connect to, as well as relevant classroom material on the importance of healthy relationships,” said Barton K. Erickson, Cornerstone’s school-based violence prevention coordinator. “The KNOW ABUSE™ curriculum engages youth in a variety of learning methods simultaneously by incorporating youth-created media and interactive audience participation.”

“Teen dating violence is a serious social issue in the community and we are leveraging our resources to help teens across the country,” said Marquett Smith, vice president of communications for Verizon Wireless. “We believe that through strong private partnerships we can help youth understand the issue and find support.”

Through its partnership with PAVE the Way Project, Verizon Wireless continues its commitment to preventing dating and domestic violence in the community. HopeLine® from Verizon, Verizon Wireless’ recycling program, puts our technology to work by turning no-longer-used cell phones into support for domestic violence victims and survivors. Since its launch in 2001, Verizon Wireless has distributed nearly 123,000 HopeLine phones with the equivalent of more than 406 million minutes of wireless service for use by domestic violence victims, survivors and organizations. Verizon Wireless’ UHopeLine program helps schools raise awareness of dating and domestic violence and gives back to those who have been affected by hosting phone drives on campus and other events to spread the word across campuses nationwide.

For more information on PAVE the Way Project, please visit To learn more about HopeLine from Verizon, visit

About Verizon Wireless Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s largest 4G LTE network and largest, most reliable 3G network. The company serves nearly 108 million total wireless connections, including 92.2 million retail customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with nearly 82,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD). For more information, visit To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at

About Cornerstone Cornerstone’s school-based violence prevention program teaches classes, conducts support groups and provides after-school individual mentorship to help students understand the dynamics of abusive relationships and enhance students’ abilities to build their own healthy relationships. More information online at

Music for PAVE the Way – MTE, Inc Executive Producer Jacqui Thompson developed the music concept and produced the overall project along with personally hand picking the artists being featured. MTE, Inc. is a boutique agency focused on management and artist development. More information at