Verizon Wireless Empowers Memphis, Tennessee, Youth To Take A Stand Against Teen Dating Violence

MEMPHIS, TN — 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 campaign to raise awareness of teen dating violence in Memphis.

PAVE (Preventing Abuse and Violence Through Education) the Way Project is designed to promote healthy relationships and empower local teens to take a stand against dating violence through the expression of pop music.

Memphis High is one of seven youth artist groups from across the country sourced by MTE Inc. that contributed original songs to raise awareness on dating violence with the PAVE the Way Project. Memphis High’s Witt McKay and Grant Vogel contributed the song “Heavy Things” with a message for teens that there are always options and people to turn to in your life no matter what you are going through.

“We are pleased to support this nationwide effort to prevent the spread of teen dating violence,” said Candace Morgan, district manager for Verizon Wireless in western Tennessee. “We look forward to watching the competition unfold and spreading the word among local high schools and their students.”

The PAVE the Way Project launched nationwide on April 10, and each youth artist track is being released each Tuesday through May 22, with a free download at 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-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.

PAVE the Way Project 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.

Memphis educators can visit to register for free access to the KNOW ABUSE™ curriculum, developed by Cornerstone’s school-based violence prevention program staff, which serves to engage youth through a variety of learning methods simultaneously, by incorporating youth-created media and interactive audience participation.

Through its partnership with PAVE the Way Project, Verizon Wireless continues its commitment to preventing dating and domestic violence in the community. HopeLine®, Verizon Wireless’ recycling program, puts the nation’s most reliable network 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.

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