Members of Seneca Valley's SADD group make call for domestic violence victims

| Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, 7:15 p.m.

Where old cell phones are concerned, outdated doesn't have to mean discarded.

Members of Seneca Valley High School's SADD organization have a solution for the obsolete devices that languish in the bottom of desk drawers. Through March 15, students will collect wireless phones and accessories using the HopeLine Care Activity sponsored by Verizon. Donated phones will be refurbished and sold for reuse to local domestic violence agencies. Their clients also will receive 3,000 minutes of wireless and text-messaging service.

Since 2001 more than 10 million phones have been collected nationwide for victims of domestic violence, according to HelpLine.

“February is domestic violence awareness month, so we decided to do the HopeLine project,” said SADD president Brianna Sonson, 16, a junior from Cranberry Township. “This is a simple way for anyone who has old cell phones to finally put them to good use and stand up for a good cause.”

The idea for the project came from SADD member Abigail Sledge earlier this year, said Ashley Zaso, the club's sponsor and a high school English and speech teacher.

Collection boxes are set up at the senior high and intermediate high schools.

In addition, the district's Sadie Hawkins Dance on March 15 will give students another opportunity to contribute to a cause. All ticket proceeds will be given to VOICe, Butler County Victims Outreach Intervention Center, a non-profit organization that provides free services to survivors of violent crime. Old phones also will be collected that night in the senior high gym.

With SADD's acronym now standing for Students Against Destructive Decisions, the organization's mission has expanded.

“Issues such as domestic violence, drug abuse and bullying (have) found a home for awareness and advocacy,” said Zaso, 27, of Shaler Township.

“The Walk in My Shoes” project last year interacted with the middle schoolers as they performed a skit about stereotyping.

“It also gave us the chance to help the younger kids by answering questions about high school,” she said.

But this year's project is important to her as well as she gets others motivated and involved. She hopes half the school students bring in their old cell phones.

“They can use any kind of phone and dial emergency numbers in case of a domestic violence dispute,” Sonson said.

“It's something so little, yet it could have the potential to be really impactful and helpful to those in need. I think it's important to show others that it's important to be a responsible young adult and make good decisions.”

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6353 or

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