IRVINE, Calif. — Verizon Wireless and the Irvine chapter of Soroptimist International are commemorating National Domestic Violence Awareness Month by joining forces to help women, in Orange County and nationwide, who are threatened by stalking or domestic violence. Verizon Wireless will donate 60 Motorola digital wireless phones and free airtime to four local domestic and family violence prevention programs in Orange County - Human Options, Human Options - Second Step, Interval House and Laura's House.
The digital wireless phones, which will be distributed by Soroptimist, are pre-programmed to dial 911 and one non-emergency number. The recipient organizations will loan the cellular phones to domestic violence victims who meet the program criteria, so they can use them to call for help in the event of an emergency.
Soroptimist has collected 400 used phones since March, which will be contributed to CALL to PROTECT, a national educational and philanthropic initiative that provides the security and mobility of wireless phones to victims of domestic violence.
"More than 50,000 emergency calls are placed by domestic violence victims in Orange County each year. Verizon Wireless is concerned for the safety of these victims," said Mike Finley, regional president of Verizon Wireless. "We are especially grateful to the volunteers at Soroptimist for their contribution and for collecting phones to support this valuable program."
"I first learned about the opportunity of the CALL to PROTECT program while watching Good Morning America," said Pat Jackson-Colando, president of Soroptimist. "It touched my heart and I wanted to see how I could get cellular phones to women who were living in shelters within my community.
"Members of Soroptimist International of Irvine and Huntington Beach are proud to collaborate with Verizon Wireless to implement the CALL to PROTECT program for victims in four shelters for domestic violence in Orange County," added Jackson-Colando. "Our community activities and volunteers are determined to prevent domestic violence and its adverse effects on women and children. The wireless phones generously donated by Verizon Wireless will increase the sense of safety and security needed by the women in shelters to move forward."
With the drive and support of its executive leadership team, Verizon Wireless is a recognized leader for its domestic violence awareness campaign. In May 2000, Verizon Wireless received the New York City Victim Services' Champion Award for the company's efforts. The annual award recognizes businesses and individuals for their dedication and commitment to ending domestic violence and victimization. The company also served as a corporate sponsor of the 1998 Annual National Conference on Domestic Violence. In 1997, president and CEO Denny Strigl was invited to play a prominent role at a White House event recognizing Domestic Violence Awareness Month, discussing the HopeLine® program and encouraging other corporations to take action.
The first Soroptimist club was established in Oakland, CA in 1921 as a service organization for business and professional women. The name is derived from "soro" and "optima" latin for "the best for women." Soroptomists are women at the best helping others be their best. There are nearly 100,000 members in more than 110 countries in Soroptimist International. The Irvine chapter has members from a broad spectrum of professions. The group accomplishes its community service goals through six programs of service: economic/social development, education, environmental, health, human rights/status of women, and international goodwill/understanding. To become a member of the Irvine chapter of Soroptimist International contact Pat Jackson-Colando at 949-854-0605.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 25 million wireless voice and data customers and nearly 3.5 million paging customers. The company has a footprint covering nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets. Verizon Wireless has donated thousands of wireless phones pre-programmed to dial 9-1-1 to domestic violence shelters for use by victims. In addition, its HopeLine® program has given more than 10,000 free voice mail boxes to individuals in shelters who do not have access to a personal phone line. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company in its Media Center on the Web at: http://www.verizonwireless.com/mediacenter.