A relationship between YWCA Dayton’s Preble County office and a local Verizon store is ensuring that survivors have the tools they need to succeed for years to come.
In 2019, TCC Gives, a charitable organization based in Carmel, Indiana, reached out to YWCA Dayton with information about their More Than a Phone program, which provides nonprofit agencies with smartphones to help give domestic violence survivors a fresh start.
When asked if we’d like to participate in this program, our answer was a resounding, “yes!”
The first batch of 25 phones, each with 4 months of data, arrived in summer 2019 and were distributed to survivors, as needed. YW staff, in partnership with TCC’s Verizon store in Eaton, Ohio, activate the phones for each client, ensuring that maximum confidentiality and security measures are in place.
Without access to a phone, clients often feel stuck, unable to communicate with family, friends or area resources. They are forced to rely on their case manager for communication and help finding resources for assistance. This lack of independence can sometimes lead survivors to return to their abuser.
“We love this partnership,” said Courtney Griffith, director of rural strategy for YWCA Dayton. “When the women enter shelter with a phone, it’s not a safe phone because the abuser either has access to the account and/or knows the number, allowing the abuser to maintain control over the client.”
A smartphone may seem like a small contribution, but for our clients, it can make a huge difference. This program gives survivors the ability to safely communicate with case management and legal advocates, and keep in touch with loved ones. One client even used her new phone to contact landlords and agencies to find suitable housing on her own.
“Since having their phones, clients have been able to maintain safe contact with family members, make appointments, receive calls from area agencies and have begun receiving services to continue moving forward and begin their process of healing,” said Griffith.
YWCA Dayton recently received 40 more phones for survivors and will receive a new shipment every year.
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing domestic violence, YWCA Dayton can help. 24/7 Crisis Hotline: 937-222-SAFE.