What may seem like just anther way to get rid of old junk lying around your house may actually serve as a huge step toward independence for a domestic violence survivor and her family.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and the Indianapolis Colts are encouraging fans to bring old cell phones, tablets, and other wireless devices to Sunday's home game against the New Orleans Saints. The collection drive is a part of Verizon's Hopeline campaign. Phones donated by fans are recycled for cash grants, while Verizon provides new phones to shelters for survivors to use.
Residents of Coburn Place Safe Haven will benefit from the donation program.
"These phones make a huge difference, " says Lara Chandler, vice president of mission advancement for Coburn Place. "We actually provide them to all sorts of our clients to have so that they can be able to access employment, resources, doctor's appointments, things they wouldn't have access to because their abuser has taken their phone away."
Communication is a necessity that many of us take for granted, but for those who are in volatile situations, access to the world is often cut off and controlled. More often than not, domestic violence survivors escape with not much more than what few items they can carry out with them. Domestic abuse is often about control of everything, which can include finances and time as well as possessions and belongings. Getting a new cell phone not only goes toward establishing a new life, but is also severs another tie to the abuser.
Coburn Place maintains 35 apartments in Indianapolis for families who are transitioning out of their violent situation and working toward a safer life. The facility also provides services and resources to those families to help in every aspect of their transition to safety, including self-defense classes, therapy support groups, financial literacy workshops and other resources. In 2014, Coburn Place provided support services and resources to 335 adults and children escaping their domestic violence situations.
Colts' tight end Dwayne Allen spent an afternoon at Coburn Place playing basketball and doing crafts with the kids residing at the facility. Allen is one of nearly two dozen NFL players involved in the "Say No More to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault" campaign. The public service announcements feature athletes and sports celebrities bringing attention to the issue of domestic violence. Domestic violence among NFL players fell under intense media scrutiny after the Ray Rice incident involving his then-fiancée Janay in 2014. The NO MORE campaign kicked off during the NFL season with PSAs airing during games. Allen became the Colts representative in that campaign.
The mild-mannered well-spoken pro football player spent an afternoon tossing the football and making Halloween crafts with the kids at Coburn Place. But his message for the to the public was simple and sincere.
"The Hopeline — their goal is to do three things,: said Allen. "Number one, to prevent by providing resources to different domestic violence organizations; number two, to educate everyone about domestic violence and the different signs that you can pick up on to help prevent and stop domestic abuse; and number three to empower them by providing cell phones to the organizations and those survivors as a safeline to resources and family and friends."
This is the third year the Colts have partnered with Verizon for the cell phone drive and Allen's second year representing the program.
Any and all cell phones, tablets, and accessories will be accepted in any or in no working order.