A 'HopeLine' for domestic violence victims
Last Friday, executives of the Pennsylvania Convention Center presented 165 wireless devices to leadership from Verizon to be used in the HopeLine program to benefit local domestic violence survivors. The Pennsylvania Convention Center held the drive in January and February, encouraging staff to donate their no-longer-used wireless phones and accessories.
Through the HopeLine from Verizon program, the collected devices and accessories will be refurbished and donated to local domestic violence shelters to serve as a safe line of communication for survivors, or they will be turned into valuable financial support for domestic violence awareness and prevention initiatives.
“HopeLine is an opportunity for our clients to receive refurbished cell phones which is a huge line of support for people who often have had to leave behind
those types of tools while fleeing an abusive relationship,” Katie Young-Wildes, vice president of advancement at Women Against Abuse. “Or their abusive former partner may have control finances and have permitted them to not have a phone, because part of intimate partner violence is isolating the victim from his or her network of support, and having a cell phone is obviously is a really critical line of support.”
Women Against Abuse receives about 100 phones a year for their clients through Verizon HopeLine, Young-Wildes added. Just last year, Verizon Wireless provided a total of $232,000 in HopeLine funding to domestic violence organizations in the Philadelphia Tri-State Region.
Verizon Wireless has collected more than 11.4 million phones and distributed more than 190,000 phones to domestic violence victims and survivors since HopeLine launched in 2001 in the United States. In that same time, Verizon Wireless has donated more than $29 million in cash grants in the U.S.
“A lot of people who come to our safe havens are literally coming with just the clothes on their back and it's such a relief to be able to give them a phone from the Verizon Hopeline program,” Young-Wildes said. “Especially, as they begin to embark on their journey to safety.”
The phone not only benefits the Women Against Abuse safe haven clients, but other programs that the center is a part of as well. Such as their Legal Center that serves both men and women victims of domestic violence.
One of the benefits for a client who has one of the refurbish phones, is that they do not have to worry about billing or any type of plan. Verizon takes care of all the necessities in order to give victims a chance at rebuilding their lives and staying connected.
“Domestic violence is a national problem that impacts our communities, our neighbors, our co-workers, friends and family members across the board,” Andrew Testa, public relations manager for the northeast market of Verizon. “One in three women and one in four men and more than three million children in the U.S. are impacted by domestic violence, so we believe our network through technology, even our people, can be part of that solution.”
There’s a couple of ways that the public can get involved,Testa said. The first is to donate your no longer used smart phone or accessory and donate it by dropping it off in one of the Verizon stores in the city.
The phones can be mailed in as well or a person can start their own phone drive.
“Access to a wireless phone can really help victims of domestic violence rebuild their lives,” Testa said. “It really provides a link to their support services and provides that safe line of communication.”