Phones Collected at Mystics Game on Friday, July 18 to Benefit D.C.’s My Sister’s Place

July 13, 2008

LAUREL, MD – As a star forward for the Washington Mystics, Nakia Sanford is a spirited competitor. But if you really want to fire her up, talk to her about the number of women and children in the D.C. area who are living in abusive homes. The 32-year-old Georgia native, who started a mentoring program for area youth, is passionate about keeping families safe in her adopted hometown of Washington, D.C.

For that reason, the Washington Mystics have joined forces with Verizon Wireless to collect no-longer-used wireless phones for the company's HopeLine® phone recycling program. Each wireless phone or charger brought to the Verizon Center on Friday, July 18 -- when the Mystics play the Detroit Shock at 7:00 p.m. -- will result in a $5 HopeLine contribution to the D.C.-based domestic violence shelter, My Sister’s Place, for a maximum contribution of $5,000. In addition, the first 1,000 fans to donate a cell phone or charger will receive a bobblehead of Nakia Sanford.

Citing statistics that showed D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department received nearly 13,000 domestic-violence related calls between January – June 2007, Sanford encouraged fans to support the HopeLine collection. “There’s an epidemic of abuse in our city,” Sanford said. “Most of us have an old cell phone lying around the house. There’s nothing easier than donating a phone. We know we can count on our fans to support this important cause.”

Nichelle Mitchem, executive director of My Sister’s Place, said: “We’re especially excited about this wonderful partnership. Support like this enables our organization to continue to offer innovative programs and critical services to area women and children.”

The HopeLine program collects no-longer-used wireless phones, batteries and accessories in any condition from any wireless service provider at Verizon Wireless Communications Stores nationwide and in special collections like the one with the Mystics. Phones are either refurbished and sold for reuse or recycled in an environmentally-friendly way. Proceeds are used to provide wireless phones, airtime and cash grants to local shelters and non-profit organizations that focus on domestic violence prevention and awareness.

Since 2001, Verizon Wireless has collected more than 4.5 million no-longer-used wireless phones and accessories and provided nearly $5 million in cash donations to local domestic violence agencies nationwide. In addition, HopeLine has donated more than 60,000 wireless phones and 180 million minutes of wireless service to agencies across the country for use with clients. For more information about Verizon Wireless and the HopeLine program, visit VerizonWireless.com/hopeline.