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Cell phone donations could save lives of abuse victims

UTHSC School of Nursing encourages San Antonians to participate in 'Call to Protect' program

Wireless phones come in handy for life's little emergencies. For victims of domestic abuse, a cell phone could mean the difference between life and death.

The Center for Violence Prevention in the School of Nursing at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC), along with faculty and students, have teamed with the Governor's Commission for Women, the First Ladies of Texas, Motorola, Cingular Wireless and Federal Express to help protect victims of domestic violence through the "Call to Protect" program.

"Call to Protect," a national initiative to protect victims of family violence, was created in 1996 by Motorola, the Wireless Foundation, selected telecommunication carriers and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. A key component of the initiative is the "Donate a Phone" collection program. Through the program, used wireless phones are collected, refurbished and reprogrammed with wireless emergency services and phone numbers and placed in the hands of domestic abuse victims.

Members of the Center for Violence Prevention have placed donation stations throughout the university campus to encourage the donation of used, unwanted cell phones.

"We encourage not only the university community, but everyone in San Antonio, to make a difference in someone's life by dropping off their used cell phones," said Margaret Brackley, Ph.D., professor of chronic nursing care and director of the Center for Violence Prevention. "We're proud to be part of a program that can save lives right here in San Antonio."

During last year's phone collection campaign, Texans responded by donating more than 10,000 phones to the program. More than 100,000 phones were collected nationwide. The phones are given to domestic violence shelters, law enforcement agencies and other organizations working to combat domestic violence.

Citizens are asked to deactivate the phone's service and take the phone, charger and battery to a drop-off location at the university or to one of the Cingular Wireless locations in San Antonio now through May 10. Donations are tax deductible. For more information, call Carol Swartz, director of development for the School of Nursing, at (210) 567-3833.

Drop-off box locations

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
7703 Floyd Curl Drive
School of Nursing building, Center for Violence Prevention, Room 1.106
School of Medicine building, Room 309L
Dental School building, Room 4.320

UTHSC School of Allied Health Sciences
Dean's Office, Room 5.118
8403 Floyd Curl Drive

Cingular Wireless Stores
13127 San Pedro Ave.
4914 Northwest Loop 410
11745 Interstate 10 West
2716 Southwest Military Dr.

Contact: Natalie Gutierrez or Aileen Salinas