Lt. Governor Simon joins Verizon to present $10,000 to domestic violence shelters

Third annual Domestic Violence Awareness Month cell phone drive benefits two shelters in need

CARBONDALE, IL – To end her third annual cell phone drive, Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon on Friday joined a representative from Verizon Wireless to present $5,000 each to the Cairo Women’s Shelter and HOPE located in Rochelle. In honor of October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Simon’s office again partnered with Verizon, which contributed $10,000, $10 for each phone collected.

“This year we chose two shelters that are doing great work to serve survivors of domestic violence using limited resources,” said Simon, a former Jackson county prosecutor. “I would like to thank our partner Verizon and the hundreds of individuals who donated used phones, for helping us support these shelters.”

The phones collected at Simon’s offices, the Illinois State Fair and Du Quoin State Fair, as well as those donated by the Department of Central Management Services are being donated to Verizon’s HopeLine program. Phones will be refurbished and sold, with the proceeds going to support local domestic violence shelters and programs. The program also provides domestic violence agencies with wireless phones and airtime for use by domestic violence victims. If a phone can’t be refurbished, it will be recycled.

“Verizon is dedicated to supporting organizations like HOPE and the Cairo Women’s Shelter,” said Brian Pascoe, region president, Verizon Wireless. “We applaud their important contributions to our community to help victims and raise awareness of this pervasive problem and to end domestic violence.”

Verizon’s $10 matching donation this year will benefit two shelters demonstrating significant financial need. Both the Cairo Women’s Shelter in southern Illinois and HOPE in northern Illinois will receive $5,000 to support their services.

“We’re happy to be receiving these funds,” said Jeannine Woods, executive director of the Cairo Women’s Shelter. “They’re going to help us do those things necessary for the women and children who come to our shelter and who need a safe and comfortable environment to heal.”

“All of us (in Ogle county and N.E. Lee county) are elated about this award,” said Ruth Carter, executive director of HOPE. “The money will go to benefit clients with necessary car repairs –– to help them reach resources in the community, and to help them reach employment and child care, and the services that we provide.”

Each year, the Cairo Women’s Shelter and its sister agency, Guardian Family Services located in Metropolis, serve approximately 600 domestic violence survivors from four counties. Many of those clients are unemployed or hold minimum wage jobs. HOPE, located in Rochelle, serves roughly 450 survivors of domestic violence in Ogle and northeast Lee Counties and is celebrating its 30th anniversary in November. Both shelters are piloting Simon’s Virtual Legal Clinic, which connects survivors with family law attorneys via webcams.

Today’s check presentation took place at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale where Simon, a former law professor, helped found the Domestic Violence Clinic. The clinic services domestic violence survivors in Jackson, Williamson and Union Counties by providing free legal representation in seeking orders of protection. As part of the School of Law, law students in their second or third years work directly with an experienced lawyer to interview the victim, conduct research, prepare for court and obtain a court order of protection, in exchange for course credit. The clinic also collaborates with Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation in assisting survivors of domestic violence.

Since its recycling program was launched in 2001, HopeLine has collected more than 10 million wireless phones and has awarded more than $18.1 million in cash grants to domestic violence organizations throughout the country. More than 151,000 HopeLine phones with the equivalent of more than 453 million minutes of airtime have been provided to victims, survivors and domestic violence organizations since the program’s inception.

Donations are also accepted year-round at Verizon Wireless stores.