GREENVILLE, S.C. — During the first six months of 1999, more than 1,400 individuals at 48 social service organizations in the Southeast benefited from voice mail boxes and pre-programmed wireless phones donated by Bell Atlantic Mobile, according to a recent survey of groups participating in the program.
"Our efforts started in 1995 with 11 organizations and now we are able to help close to 50," said Jerry Fountain, vice president of the company's Southeast region covering North Carolina, South Carolina and parts of Georgia. "Bell Atlantic Mobile has made it a priority to increase the services we dedicate to our 'Wireless at Work...' program, to benefit additional social service organizations and their clients each year."
"Wireless at Work..." is Bell Atlantic Mobile's community service program using the company's wireless technology to help individuals and communities improve security and emergency communications.
Over the past six months, the company's HopeLine® wireless voice mail box program have helped 324 individuals secure employment, 292 retain permanent living quarters, 311 contact family and friends, another 233 contact social services, 69 find child care and 138 to resolve health care issues. Since 1995, HopeLine has donated almost 600 voice mail boxes and provided wireless service valued at more than $68,000 to 28 organizations in the Southeast.
Also during that time, using donated wireless phones pre-programmed to dial 9-1-1 and other emergency numbers, 62 victims of domestic violence placed calls for personal safety and 31 used the phones to contact social services. Since the program's Domestic Violence Initiative began in 1996 with a donation of 15 phones to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Bell Atlantic Mobile has donated almost 150 pre- programmed phones and service valued at approximately $60,000 to 20 organizations in the Southeast region.
The survey also collected several real-life examples of the program's benefits to those most in need.
"One of our clients was brutally assaulted by her ex- boyfriend," said Lynn Spence, executive director of Womenfolk Unlimited in Rockingham, N.C. "Until she received a cellular phone, she was afraid to leave her home without a weapon."
A resident at the Killingsworth Home in Columbia, S.C., recently used a donated voice mail box to monitor the condition of her 6-year-old son while he was in the hospital, according to Cynthia Martin, program administrator at Killingsworth. "Her son was hospitalized in another city and family members were able to keep the mother updated with his condition by leaving messages on her voice mail box."
Editors' Notes: Social service organization contacts: The following contacts will be available for comment on their participation in Bell Atlantic Mobile's "Wireless at Work..." program:
- Cynthia Martin, program administrator, Killingsworth Home, Columbia, S.C., 803/771-6359.
- Monieca Hogg, director, Pilgrim's Inn, Rock Hill, S.C. 803/327-4227.
- Sheila Corey, head social worker, Community Link, Charlotte, 704/334-7288.
- Bill Benton, supervisor, Cleveland County Sheriff's Department, Shelby, 704/484-4831.
- Terri Looper, executive director, Shelter Home of Caldwell County, Lenoir, 828/758-0888.
- Cathy Curtis, counselor, UFS Victim Assistant, Charlotte, 704/336- 4126.
- Nancy Isbamioly, director, Catherine's House, Belmont, 704/825- 9599.
- Lynn Spence, executive director, Womenfolk Unlimited, Rockingham, 910/997-4840.
- Natalie Simpson, director, Turning Point Shelter, Monroe, 704/282- 4707. < p>
Bell Atlantic Mobile owns and operates the largest wireless network in the East, covering 120,000 square miles, and the largest chain of retail outlets devoted exclusively to wireless voice, data and paging. Based in Bedminster, NJ, Bell Atlantic Mobile has 6.4 million customers and 8,000 employees from Maine to Georgia and, through a separate subsidiary, in the Southwest. Through its "Wireless at Work..." community service program, the company uses its technology to help individuals and communities improve security and emergency communications. Bell Atlantic Mobile's parent, Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE:BEL) is one of the world's largest wireless communications companies, with domestic operations in 25 states and international investments in Mexico, Europe and the Pacific Rim. For more information on Bell Atlantic Mobile visit: www.bam.com; on global operations visit: www.bellatlantic.com/worldwide.