October marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and a group in Laramie has been awarded a grant to help in their efforts against domestic violence. The Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault recently received a Verizon grant in the amount of $5,262 to assist them in providing support to programs working to end violence.

The grant was made possible by the Verizon Foundation and Verizon’s HopeLine Program. The Hopeline Program is a program through Verizon that is providing support for domestic violence victims and survivors by utilizing no-longer-used phones and accessories. The program allows Wireless phones given to HopeLine to be refurbished and sold for reuse, generating proceeds for the program. Refurbished phones, complete with 3,000 minutes of wireless service and text-messaging service, are also provided to local domestic violence agencies or local government and law enforcement agencies for use with their domestic violence clients.

Meagan Dorsch, a spokesperson for Verizon, says that Verizon selected the Coalition for the grant because they make a difference in the state.

"We like to partner with organizations that are driving positive change in their communities, and that's really what we look for," says Dorsch.

She says the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence has a unique and strong program. She adds that the grant money is being used to work with male athletes at Northwest College to discuss healthy relationships. She says that when selecting organizations to receive grant money, the company looks for groups that are driving positive change within their communities.

Dorsch says that those in Laramie can help the cause by donating their old phones at any Verizon store. She says people can donate any model of phone and from any carrier. Donated phones can then provide victims a way to call emergency or support services, employers, family, and friends. Phone donations given locally benefit victims of abuse within that geographic area.

In addition, people in Laramie can make a difference by using the hashtag #VoicesHavePower on social media sites throughout the month of October. Every time the hashtag is used, Verizon Wireless is donating three dollars to domestic violence organizations throughout the county. You can track how much money is being donated through this campaign at voiceshavepower.com.

For more information on the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, click here.