The Indianapolis Colts and Verizon Wireless have teamed up for a second time during Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October to support Coburn Place Safe Haven, a domestic violence support organization based in Indianapolis. Through a HopeLine community collection drive, the Colts and Verizon Wireless have pledged $20,000 and set a goal of collecting 1,013 mobile devices – the same number of children Coburn Place Safe Haven has helped since opening its doors in 1996.
Hoosiers can donate mobile phones during the entire month of October at any Verizon Wireless location and also bring phones, chargers and any other no-longer-used wireless device or accessory to the Indianapolis Colts home game versus the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, Oct. 19. Volunteers will be collecting the items outside of the Lucas Oil Stadium before the game.
At the HopeLine collection drive’s kickoff event, Indianapolis Colts player Dwayne Allen shared his own family’s escape from domestic violence years ago when he was a child, noting that his family had the resources to seek help but many don’t. “It’s our job to step up to the plate and be role models for millions of people, many of which are children,” Allen said of being a “positive light in the community.”
Indianapolis Colts vice-chair and owner, Carlie Irsay, and Coburn Place executive director, Julia Kathary, joined Verizon Wireless regional president Lauren Love-Wright at the Colts’ training facility to help raise awareness of the second annual drive. Indiana’s First Lady Karen Pence also announced her efforts to engage state government agencies and employees for HopeLine this month.
“Many organizations are finding a greater need now for service due to the national dialogue about domestic violence,” said Love-Wright. “Indiana is no different and organizations here continue to experience more women and families coming forward for help, support, programming and housing.”
Coburn Place, like many domestic violence organizations in Indianapolis, is at capacity with long waiting lists. Executive director Julia Kathary explained that more survivors may now be seeking help due to the national spotlight on the issue. “That’s good news in that people may not have been seeking help before – and may have remained in dangerous situations,” she said.
Kathary said Verizon Wireless’ corporate foundation and HopeLine grants have contributed more than $60,000 to support the programs and services of Coburn Place just in the past two years.
In addition, 136 clients in the past four years have received basic cell phones that provided 408,000 minutes and 270,000 text messages to stay in touch with family and friends during recovery time from the trauma of domestic violence.
Also joining the HopeLine kickoff included officers with the Indianapolis Metro Police Department, Indianapolis city-county councilor Joseph Simpson, and Coburn Place graduate Juana Tyler, who said that without the local support she received she would not have been able to finish school, buy a car or even take her newborn to doctor appointments in Indianapolis.
Tyler, who was hospitalized in a coma for nearly two weeks after suffering injuries by her abuser, explained that “going from never having a support system to suddenly having a building-full, will change anyone’s life.”