Verizon Wireless Empowers Local Youth To Take A Stand Against Teen Dating Violence

WARREN, NJ — According to the New York State Office for Prevention of Domestic Violence, 1 in 3 teenagers in a serious relationship reported that they’ve been concerned about being hurt physically by a boyfriend or girlfriend. One out of five of these teens say they have actually been hit, slapped, or pushed by a boyfriend or girlfriend. 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 New York Metro. 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.

Charlie Dane is one of seven youth artists from across the country sourced by MTE Inc. that contributed original songs to raise awareness on dating violence with PAVE the Way Project. Charlie contributed “Prisoner” to the project because “I felt that being stuck in a situation like this [teen dating violence] is sort of like being a prisoner and if you are a victim of relationship abuse, you need to break out of the chains that keep you from living your life freely. I was inspired by all that I read and learned about this topic.”

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 www.pavethewayproject.com. From May 29 – June 12, the public will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite track at www.pavethewayproject.com. 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.

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. Long Island educators can visit www.pavethewayproject.com 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.

“We are pleased to support this nationwide effort to prevent the spread of teen dating violence,” said Pat Devlin, president of Verizon Wireless, New York Metro Region. “We look forward to watching the competition unfold and spreading the word among local high schools and their students.”

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 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.

For more information on PAVE the Way Project, please visit www.pavethewayproject.com. To learn more about HopeLine from Verizon, visit www.verizonwireless.com/hopeline.

About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless operates the nation’s largest 4G LTE network and largest, most reliable 3G network. The company serves 93.0 million retail customers, including 88.0 million retail postpaid customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 80,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD). For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com. 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 www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.

About CornerstoneCornerstone’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 www.cornerstonemn.org.

Music for Pave the Way – MTE, IncExecutive 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 http://www.mtentinc.com/.

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