Verizon HopeLine cell phone drive helps domestic violence survivors
CHICAGO — Oct. 28, 2014. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon brought her office’s fourth annual Domestic Violence Awareness Month cell phone drive to a successful conclusion with the presentation of two $5,000 donations from Verizon’s HopeLine program to the Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois and Chicago-based Connections for Abused Women and their Children.
“Organizations like these help survivors to protect their families and themselves as they get back on their feet after abusive relationships,” Simon said. “Each year, Domestic Violence Awareness Month is about educating ourselves about domestic violence. I hope this has called some attention to the issue, and I know that the Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois, and Connections for Abused Women and their Children will use this money to help those who most need it.”
Collected phones will be donated to Verizon’s HopeLine program. Phones will be refurbished and sold, with the proceeds going to support local domestic violence shelters and programs. The program also provides domestic violence agencies with wireless phones and airtime for use by domestic violence victims. If a phone can’t be refurbished, it will be recycled in an environmentally sound way.
“Verizon is dedicated to supporting organizations like Connections and the Violence Prevention Center,” said Mike McMahon, director of business sales, Verizon Wireless. “We applaud their important contribution to our community to help victims and raise awareness of the pervasive problem of domestic violence.”
Based in Belleville, the Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois provides shelter and other services to domestic violence survivors in St. Clair, Monroe and Randolph Counties. The donation will be used to support the services provided by the Center’s legal advocacy program, said Lisa Chilton, Director of Legal Advocacy for the Violence Prevention Center.
“The Violence Prevention Center is grateful to Verizon for this financial gift because of how it will help eliminate the barriers a domestic violence survivor faces when trying to get to safety,” Chilton said. “We know lack of resources and legal assistance become barriers to safety. These additional resources will allow victims to get to safety and for the community to focus on the more important question: "How can we stop this abuser from abusing?"
Half of the proceeds from the drive will also go toward Connections for Abused Women and Children (CAWC). Based in Chicago, the group provides domestic violence relief services to families in need. CAWC Executive Director Stephanie Love-Patterson said the cell phone drive is important and timely.
“On behalf of the board of directors and staff of Connections for Abused Women and their Children, we appreciate the generous gift from Verizon,” Love-Patterson said. “These funds will help CAWC to continue to provide life-saving services and work toward our mission of ending domestic violence. We greatly value community partners like you!”
As Lt. Governor, Simon’s office has collected more than 4,000 used cell phones to help benefit survivors of domestic violence. Simon’s office also launched the Virtual Legal Clinic, a program aimed at providing free, confidential legal consultation to domestic violence survivors in rural and underserved counties. The program, which will continue under the purview of the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, connects survivors to lawyers with expertise in family law via internet technology.