Jessica Lin Silvestri participates in “Call to Protect”; a national organization that collects cell phones, reprograms them for emergency numbers and distributes them to victims of domestic violence. She was nine years old when a teenager from her church was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend. After remembering the pain the youth’s family went through and hearing about “Call to Protect”, Jessica contacted the national headquarters to find out that there were no collection sites in Ohio and decided to start a local collection.
She recruited local businesses to be drop off sites, talked local printers into donating fliers that she distributed to local schools, churches and organizations. She then alerted the media about her project. At the time, Jessica had hopes for a couple dozen of phones but stopped counting at the collection of 500 cell phones.
Jessica started work on this project in October 2000 and she continues to collect phones today. In January 2001, she was selected one of “20 People in Mahoning County Who Made a Difference in 2000” by The Youngstown Vindicator. She was featured in the October/November magazine Guideposts for Teens for her efforts. The Association of Fundraising Professionals named her 2001 Philanthropist of the Year in Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana, Mercer and Shenango Counties. This is the first time they have chosen a teenager for this honor. She has also been selected to receive a Distinguished Finalist medallion in The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards on the state level. Currently, Jessica is 1 of 120 pre-med students at John Carroll University.
Every year, one to four million domestic violence cases are reported. About 98% of the victims are women. In any given year, almost half of female murder victims are slain by their husbands or boyfriends. In the greater metropolitan area of Youngstown, Ohio, the police estimate that 65% of the 911 calls made were related to domestic violence.