On Monday, July 28, 2014, Hopeline® from Verizon presented the Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade with a $100,000 grant for establishment of the B&GC’s Date SMART Program. Date SMART, an acronym for Skills Mastery And Resistence Training, is a “safe dating” program that teaches teens how to create and maintain safe, healthy dating relationships, free from violence and abuse.
Nearly one in four women, one in seven men and more than 3 million children in the United States are affected by domestic violence. One in five female high school students have reported being physically or sexually abused by a dating partner. In 2013 alone, public school across the U.S. documented 4,800 incidents of rape or other types of sexual assault.
Date SMART is created specifically for teenagers ages 12 through 18. The program will have 400 members and take place at the Kendall, Northwest, Hank Kline and South Beach clubs. The program’s goals include promoting relationships based on equality and mutual respect; connecting members and their families with community-based resources for dating, sexual and domestic violence; educating members on methods of helping friends and family who may be experiencing dating, sexual or domestic violence; and providing youth with the knowledge and skills to create fun, safe and supportive dating relationships.
“We are very grateful to HopeLine for this generous grant,” said Alex Rodriguez-Roig, president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade. “With this grant, Verizon Wireless, a longtime and broad supporter of Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade and the Miami community, is making a great difference in the lives of area youth by promoting healthy teen dating relationships.”
The $100,000 grant check was presented by Mariano Legaz, President of Verizon Wireless Florida, to Rodriguez-Roig and Olga Guilarte, Special Events chair and former Board president, at the Northwest Club location. Date SMART Program and reference materials will be offered in English, Spanish and Creole for use in the Clubs and in the community.
The program dovetails with the B&GC’s overarching goal of providing Miami’s disadvantaged youth with a safe, fun environment that offers homework help, sports and friendship. The Clubs’ quality programs build character skills, aid in leadership development and empower area children to become active, responsible members of the community. The B&GC began in 1940 with a single location. It has since grown to serve a total of 12,000 area children at its five club locations throughout Miami-Dade.
Hopeline collects donated, no-longer-used wireless phones and transforms them into support for domestic violence organizations across the nation. Donated phone are either environmentally recycled or refurbished and equipped with 3,000 minutes and texting capabilities. Refurbished phone are then donated to domestic violence survivors, who receive free calls and texting on the Verizon Wireless network. In addition to providing survivors with cell phones, Hopeline has also donated millions of dollars in cash grants to domestic violence agencies. Since 2001, Hopeline has donated more than $21.4 million in cash grants, collected 10.8 million phones and donated 180,000 phones.