BMCC’s Women’s Resource Center (WRC) recently received $7,000 from Verizon Wireless.
The college won Verizon Wireless’s UHopeLine® cell phone donation drive, which included participation from students, faculty and administration at nine City University of New York (CUNY) campuses.
Entrants were asked to recycle their old cellular devices to UHopeLine, a program that turns no-longer-used cell phones into support for domestic violence victims and survivors.
A drop box in the BMCC main lobby collected the cell phones and parts. The drop box is still there (next to the ATM machine) and anyone can make a donation. The donation box was first placed in the lobby three years ago, and this semester BMCC collected 155 devices (phones and chargers).
David Samberg, Public Relations Manager for Verizon Wireless visited BMCC to meet President Antonio Pérez and Deborah Parker, Director of the WRC.
“Every donated phone or part adds money to the program. We rolled it out to CUNY in 2009 and decided to reintroduce it as a contest,” he said, confirming it can be any phone or carrier; not just Verizon.
“The phone and parts are recycled, even the parts, and priced at how much they're worth. The refurbished phones are then given to local agencies, such as Safe Horizons, to help women in need; they are phones domestic violence survivors can use.”
Parker is proud of the BMCC community for their generous donations.
“I’d like to thank our community, faculty, staff and students who generously donated the cell phones and chargers,” she said. “We are a community that truly cares about each other and making a difference in combating issues surrounding domestic violence.”
The other participating CUNY campuses will receive $1,000 toward their equivalent campus programs.
Students show love
When Samberg visited the campus, he also met some students who wholeheartedly support Parker and the WRC.
Many of these students are active members of Sisterhood Society, a club that works in tandem with the WRC to educate and support women on personal, health and wellness issues.
Racquel Brooks, a paramedics major and treasurer of Sisterhood Society, donated a cell phone charger to UHopeLine.
“Some of us may not be directly affected by domestic violence, but it’s important for women—and many on campus are mothers—to know the WRC is here for them,” she said. “We’re all about communication and this cell phone recycling program is an extension of that. I like knowing these phones will be used to help others who may need a cell phone, especially to reach out in an emergency.”
She points out that the WRC is not just for women—it’s for anyone.
“The Women’s Resource Center is a place you can go to talk about your problems, about your day…” she continued. “I’m so thankful we have this safe haven on campus.”
Not just for women…
Liberal Arts major Abraham Albarracin also stopped by the lobby to support the Women’s Resource Center.
“The WRC has helped me connect with different intellectual and very articulate women from varying ages, mentoring me on a case by case basis, giving me a deeper insight in the empowerment of women,” he said. “It’s good to open the mind to different things; and not be closed off to wonderful causes such as this one.”
A student shares her struggle
Liberal Arts major Shivani Jaikisson was “thrilled” that the Woman’s Resource Center would receive $7,000 from Verizon.
As a victim of domestic violence, she said the WRC “was here for me. They got me through every situation.”
Jaikisson calls Parker and Deborah Harte, coordinator of Single Stop, an on-campus referral service, “her second mothers.”
“I have such a loyalty to them and want more people on campus to stop by the WRC and Single Stop if they’re in trouble,” she said.
Jaikisson is also grateful to her political science professor Ron Hayduk, who knew she was having some personal issues and suggested she stop by the WRC for guidance.
“It’s so meaningful to see this,” said Jaikisson, referring to Samberg’s visit to the college. “It’s wonderful to know we’re helping so many families through this cell phone program.”
According to Parker, the money from UHopeLine will be used for education, training—such as self-defense courses—and emergency situations in which a student in crisis needs assistance.