CHICAGO, IL — When the hottest Mexican band, Camila, visited a Verizon Wireless store last Saturday, band members did more than just sign autographs and take pictures with hundreds of adoring fans they also showed their support for ending violence in Hispanic communities.
Verizon Wireless, a long-time supporter of programs that address domestic violence awareness and prevention, donated $20,000 to Casa Central, Chicago's largest non-profit organization supporting the Hispanic community. Camila band members assisted in presenting the check prior to their show at the Congress Theater Saturday night, part of their first headlining U.S. tour, sponsored by Verizon Wireless.
"It is important that Latinos stand together to end violence in our communities," said Mario Domm, singer and songwriter for Camila. "We are proud to support Casa Central's mission to break the cycle of violence in Hispanic homes."
The Verizon Wireless donation has been earmarked for Casa Central's Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention initiatives, and specifically, for services related to the Illinois Safe from the Start program. Safe from the Start is a national program developed to lessen the impact of violence on children by offering counseling for families and children who have been exposed to violence in their homes or communities.
"We appreciate the support Verizon Wireless is providing in helping us launch this critical program in our community," said Ann Alvarez, president and CEO of Casa Central. "Our goal is to not only impact those young individuals who have been directly touched by violence, but to also work within the community to increase awareness among residents that violence prevention is an individual responsibility."
Studies have shown that simply witnessing an act of violence can impact infants and young children. Children may develop post-traumatic-stress-like symptoms, including increased aggression, anxiety or depression. Research has shown that as young children develop into teens and young adults, they are more likely to become perpetrators of the same acts of violence they witnessed as children. According to a report from Illinois Safe from the Start, more than three-fourths of all families seeking services cited the child's exposure to domestic violence as the main reason for requesting counseling.
"Casa Central is taking a critical step by attacking violence at its very root and helping children who are innocent bystanders of violence in their homes or communities," said T.J. Fox, Verizon Wireless president Illinois/Wisconsin region. "By increasing awareness of domestic violence and its negative impact on both the victims themselves and their children, we as a community can help break the cycle of violence."
Year round, Verizon Wireless plays an active role in supporting domestic violence survivors through its HopeLine® phone recycling program. Verizon Wireless accepts donations of no-longer-used wireless phones and accessories that then are refurbished and sold (or recycled), with proceeds benefiting survivors of domestic violence. To date, Verizon Wireless has collected more than 4.5 million phones through the HopeLine program and has donated nearly $5 million from HopeLine proceeds to organizations engaged in raising the awareness of domestic violence and its prevention.
In addition, new phones are purchased with HopeLine's proceeds to give survivors an additional tool to help them stay safe and begin the process of rebuilding their lives. In 2007, Verizon Wireless distributed nearly 20,000 wireless phones to domestic violence agencies around the country for use by their clients.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation's most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 67.2 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 69,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). For more information, go to: 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.