Verizon and Verizon Wireless are donating $300,000 over two years to launch Be Strong, a groundbreaking initiative designed to promote self-respect among teenage girls in the Los
Angeles County area and to encourage them to develop healthy, nonviolent
The Be Strong program, to be created and administered by Peace Over Violence (formerly the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women), will provide high-risk girls with opportunities for education and leadership development. The program’s goal is to help participants avoid relationship violence – including rape, dating violence and domestic abuse
– and demonstrate respect for their peers.
“Domestic violence is a serious and growing issue facing young people,” said Verizon West Region President Tim McCallion. “They need to learn to recognize the fundamental importance of respect for one another and respect for themselves. We are confident that the young women who participate in the Be Strong initiative will break the cycle of violence and fulfill their
John Palmer, regional president of Verizon Wireless, said, “The Be Strong program will not only build resistance to relationship violence
among girls just starting to date, but also help them build an online community for ongoing support. We’re proud to support Peace Over Violence, its board members, leaders and tireless employees, as the agency launches a
new initiative to help girls stop the cycle of violence.”
Be Strong participants will learn about ways to avoid potentially violent situations; promote self-health; use the Internet safely; evaluate
media images and role models; and build skills for healthy communication within relationships. The girls in the program will then collaborate with
local groups to share their knowledge with others in their communities.
A centerpiece of the program will be an online community through which girls can support each other. Features of the online forum will include:
— A discussion blackboard where registered members can post comments and questions for other members.
— Facilitated chats with experts in the field of relationship violence and with celebrities such as Calista Flockhart, national spokesperson for Peace Over Violence, and Chris Gardner, whose rags-to-riches story inspired the film “The Pursuit of Happyness.”
— Personal blogs in which individuals can document their experiences of violence and thoughts about violence prevention.
The Verizon Foundation – the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications – and Verizon Wireless are recognized corporate leaders in
the fight against domestic violence. Verizon Wireless provides grants through its HopeLine phone recycling program, where no-longer-needed
wireless phones and accessories from any wireless provider are collected and refurbished or recycled in an environmentally friendly way. Proceeds
from the HopeLine program benefit domestic violence survivors and nonprofit advocacy agencies by providing them essential communication tools –
wireless phones and services – and financial grants.
Since 2001, HopeLine has awarded nearly $4 million in cash grants to domestic violence agencies throughout the country and collected more than 4
million wireless phones.