Verizon Wireless Hopeline and Pave the Way CSR According to Business4Better, 90 percent of employees who are satisfied with their organizations’ commitment to corporate social responsibility have higher levels of engagement. Just ask Beehive PR client Karen Smith, public relations manager for Verizon Wireless. Karen, a long-time advocate for victims of domestic violence, is proud of her company’s national commitment to community giving. But it’s Verizon’s HopeLine® program that really inspires Karen. “Through HopeLine our company not only helps the environment, but also provides cash grants and active mobile devices to nonprofit agencies to put in the hands of those who need them to stay connected as they rebuild their lives.” HopeLine is a national program that helps connect domestic violence survivors to vital resources and funds domestic violence prevention organizations. Through HopeLine, the company recycles and refurbishes no-longer-used wireless phones and accessories and provides wireless phones with minutes and text messaging service to domestic violence survivors. Relationship violence isn’t limited to adults. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four teens will experience abuse in a dating relationship by age 18. Karen led the company’s drive to expand teen dating violence prevention programs beyond the standard lecture format. She forged a partnership between Verizon’s HopeLine program, Twin Cities-based domestic violence agency Cornerstone and artist development agency MTE Inc. to launch the PAVE (Preventing Abuse and Violence Through Education) the Way Project. The PAVE the Way Project is a teen dating violence awareness campaign that uses peer-to-peer mentoring through pop music and an interactive website. Youth artists across the country submitted original songs promoting healthy relationships for a chance to record an original song with GRAMMY®-winning recording artists Salvador Santana and his father Carlos Santana. More than 140,000 votes were submitted to the national online voting contest. The contest winner was 16-year-old Dymond Harding with her song “Selfish Love.” This year the original song “Me, Myself and I” by Dymond Harding, Salvador Santana and Klaus Derendorf, featuring Carlos Santana, was released on the project web site as a free download. Karen says Verizon has supported many outstanding domestic violence organizations in Minnesota like Cornerstone, which has been working with youth in junior highs and high schools for more than 20 years. She knows the PAVE the Way Project will help reach teens with the message of teen dating violence in a way that resonates with them: through music. Verizon Wireless’ commitment to HopeLine, PAVE the Way Project and other CSR programs continues to provide valuable resources and grants to communities, with employees like Karen leading the charge.

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