LAUREL, MD — Verizon Wireless and the Verizon Foundation have awarded $20,000 to the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League (SMYAL) to support outreach to help teenagers understand the importance of respectful, healthy dating relationships and the warning signs of abusive ones.
Domestic violence prevention is a priority focus for both Verizon Wireless and the Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon. By using its technology, financial resources and partnerships, the Verizon Foundation is addressing critical social issues. Verizon Wireless, through its HopeLine® Phone Recycling Program, provides wireless phones and airtime to victims of domestic violence and cash grants to local shelters and nonprofit organizations that focus on domestic violence prevention, awareness and advocacy.
“We’re proud to provide funding to SMYAL, an organization that has changed the lives of countless youth in our area,” said Mike Maiorana, president of Verizon Wireless’ Washington-Baltimore-Virginia region. “Dating violence among teens is on the rise and often goes unreported. By funding important outreach programs like SMYAL’s, we’re hoping to reach at-risk teens to encourage them to speak out, seek help and help stop the cycle of teen dating violence.”
Each year, SMYAL provides structured after-school programming to more than 350 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.
According to Andrew Barnett, executive director of SMYAL, “LGBTQ youth continue to face rejection, isolation and hopelessness as they struggle through their adolescence. We’re tremendously grateful for the grant from Verizon Wireless and the Verizon Foundation because it will help us reinforce SMYAL’s mission to promote and support self-confident, healthy, productive lives for all youth.”
As part of its outreach programming, SMYAL will launch HopeLine phone collections throughout the Greater Washington, D.C., area. HopeLine from Verizon collects wireless devices and accessories at the company’s 2,000 communications stores nationwide, by mail with a free postage-paid label or in special collections like the one being organized by SMYAL. The collected phones are refurbished or recycled in an environmentally sound way, and the proceeds are used to provide free wireless phones and airtime to victims of domestic violence and/or cash grants to nonprofit domestic violence prevention organizations. Since 2001, HopeLine has collected more than 8 million phones, properly disposed of 1.7 million no-longer-used wireless phones, and kept more than 210 tons of electronic waste and batteries out of landfills.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s fastest, most advanced 4G network and largest, most reliable 3G network. The company serves 104 million total wireless connections, including more than 88 million retail customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 85,000 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 the Verizon Foundation
The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon, uses its technology, financial resources and partnerships to address critical social issues, with a focus on education and domestic violence prevention. In 2010, the foundation awarded nearly $67 million to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation’s largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered nearly 6 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.
The Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League (SMYAL) is the only Washington, D.C., metro area service organization solely dedicated to supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Founded in 1984, SMYAL is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. SMYAL’s mission is to promote and support self-confident, healthy, productive lives for LGBTQ youth ages 13–21 as they journey from adolescence into adulthood. To learn more, visit www.smyal.org.