News Release

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

Dymond Harding Contributes Original Song to Pop Music Competition and Dating Violence Awareness Campaign

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April 23, 2012

Alan Upchurch
aupchurch@marxlayne.com
248-855-6777

SOUTHFIELD, MI — According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four teens will experience abuse in his or her dating relationship by age 18. 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 Michigan. 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.

Dymond Harding is one of seven young artists from across the country sourced by MTE Inc. that contributed original songs to raise awareness on dating violence with PAVE the Way Project. Harding contributed the song “ Selfish Love” to the project because, “I have witnessed teen dating violence, especially involving teen girls,” said Harding. “ I decided I wanted to focus on the issues that start early on in a relationship, before the violence begins, no matter how harmless they seem at the time.”

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. Michigan 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 John Granby, president–Michigan/Indiana/Kentucky Region, Verizon Wireless. “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 Wireless In Michigan
In Michigan, Verizon Wireless has more than 2,100 employees and nearly 500 locations including company-owned retail stores, indirect agents and national retailers.

About Verizon Wireless
Verizon 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 Cornerstone
Cornerstone’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, Inc
Executive 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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