Mrs. Bentley held the first ever Domestic Violence Awareness Month Candlelight Vigil at the Governor’s Mansion on October 1, which brought together representatives from domestic violence shelters from across the state, local and state leaders and community organizations who support domestic violence awareness. It was a beautiful event that honored all of the victims of domestic violence here in our state.
Last year, Mrs. Bentley focused on domestic violence awareness and prevention on college campuses, so this year she decided to move her focus to younger students. Mrs. Bentley had the opportunity to visit two schools, Minor High School in Birmingham and Carver High School in Montgomery and talk to students about the importance of healthy, safe relationships.
Both schools were participating in a SafeDates Program where a local domestic violence organization sends representatives into the classroom to take students through the SafeDates curriculum. This curriculum includes lessons on healthy relationships, learning the signs of dating abuse and pre- and post- tests for students to take to test how much they learn from the program. The SafeDates programs were partially funded through a grant from HopeLine from Verizon.
"I think it is so important that young people learn early how to recognize healthy relationships," Mrs. Bentley said. "Those relationships are the foundation for healthy families and homes and ultimately healthy communities here in Alabama."
To end the month, Mrs. Bentley marked a major milestone in her project to collect cell phones for HopeLine from Verizon. With the help of the Department of Corrections, Mrs. Bentley has now donated more than 10,000 cell phones to HopeLine. To celebrate the milestone, the Governor’s Office organized a press conference at the Verizon Wireless store in EastChase for Mrs. Bentley and Department of Corrections Commissioner Kim Thomas to donate their most recent donation. The Department of Corrections donates all cell phones confiscated from inmates to Mrs. Bentley’s HopeLine collection.