Meet our latest POM partner, Start Out Fresh Intervention Advocates (S.O.F.I.A.). S.O.F.I.A. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides domestic violence victims and survivors with assistance and encourages them to be positive, self-sufficient and successful. Through the S.O.F.I.A. Success Center, the organization provides free workshops to help in the process of emotional healing and financial independence. We sat down with Cynthia, the founder and executive director of S.O.F.I.A., to learn more about her cause and why she chose to partner with POM.
Can you tell us about yourself and why you started S.O.F.I.A.?
I have always had a passion for helping people and was involved with several community service organizations. I decided to start the organization when my daughter, Brieana turned 18. I originally started a non-profit to help troubled teens, but it was very challenging seeking group homes and the resistance from the parents to send their child away to “Start Out Fresh”. Not too long after that, Monica Paul was murdered by the father of her children at the Montclair YMCA in 2008. A few months later, I met her mother at a Township meeting and she shared with me that there was not enough support for Domestic Violence victims. I thought long and hard and decided to get involved by enrolling to become a Certified Domestic Violence Advocate and to launch Start Out Fresh Intervention Advocates (S.O.F.I.A.)
What can people do to raise more awareness about domestic violence?
You can become a Certified Domestic Violence Advocate to have a better understanding on how to be supportive and what you can do to help eradicate domestic violence and break the cycle. Within your community, you can coordinate public events to raise awareness and educate our youth on healthy vs. unhealthy relationships.
What does safety mean to you and why is it important?
It meansto be protected from danger. It’s important for everyone to feel safe and at peace.
Why did you choose to partner with POM?
POM found S.O.F.I.A.! Thank goodness! We greatly appreciate your sponsorship and support at our 9th Annual Walk Against Domestic Violence held in Montclair NJ.
What’s your favorite POM feature?
My favorite POM feature is the triple tap for the emergency alert. I haven’t had to use it, but it’s comforting knowing it’s available.
When do you normally use POM?
I usually use it at night when I’m walking from my car to my home.
What do you teach to domestic violence victims and survivors during your free workshops?
We offer free emotional healing and financial independence workshops to improve self-empowerment.
What advice and tips do you give survivors of domestic violence for starting to regain their sense of safety?
We offer words of encouragement, to never give up hope, and stay strong and focused. Most importantly, we let them know we love them.
Looking towards 2020, what are your plans for S.O.F.I.A and how can people get involved to help you attain your goals?
Our plans for 2020 include continuing to serve our community and beyond, expanding our Safe Dating Team, continuing the education of our youth about domestic violence, increasing outreach, expanding our workshop presentations and encouraging others to become Certified Domestic Violence Advocates. To get certified, the course is 40 hours (one or two days a week).
You can get involved by joining the S.O.F.I.A. team! Donations and sponsorships are greatly appreciated to help assist with the emergency needs (U-Haul rentals, Uber rides, beds and refrigerators, gas cards, grocery cards, etc). If you would like to join our team, donate or sponsor us, you can contact us here.
If a person is a survivor of domestic violence or knows someone that is, what’s the best way to reach S.O.F.I.A.?
You can reach us by visiting our website, calling us at (862)-251-6791 or contacting us via social media – @supportsofia.
To learn more and support Cynthia and Start Out Fresh Intervention Advocates, you can visit her website.
Meet our newest POM partner, Tracey Hawkins! “Tracey, the Safety Lady” is an entrepreneur, real estate agent and safety expert that travels around the country educating people and companies about personal security, home security and auto safety on the road. We sat down with Tracey to learn more about her and why she chose to partner with POM.
Can you tell us about yourself?
I have spent over 24 years traveling the country teaching people to live and work safely. As a former real estate agent, I also specialize in real estate and home health safety training. I write professionally for the National Association of REALTORS(R). I appear on live TV and share innovative safety and security products.
Why is safety important to you and how did you become “Tracey, the Safety Lady”?
I wanted to start a business that helps people and one that not a lot of people can do. As a content creator, I write articles about safety and create classes and programs that teach agents how to work safely – from screening, to open houses, to using social media safely. I am a safety product guru and always looking for innovative, effective products.
Why did you partner with POM?
In my position, I am often approached to sell products to agents. I vet them carefully and not many pass my test. POM did! The company has a solid track record, excellent customer service and most importantly, the product works! It does what it says it will do. I like the reliability since people count on it to possibly save their lives.
When we attend your safety seminar, what should we expect?
I teach real estate agents how to make more money working safely, by adding value to the relationships with the consumers: sellers, buyers and FSBOs. I created takeaways for them to use in their marketing. I have a workshop where I teach brokers, managers and owners how to not get sued. They learn how to protect their office, its contents, the people inside and they get an office safety policy handbook to help reduce their liability.
During your safety seminars, what do you tell people about POM?
When speaking, I get the opportunity to explain what people should look for in a safety app/device. I discuss how the POM has many features that agents need: it allows you to call for help and have law enforcement show up. There is a key locator, text a friend and a walking escort feature which means you will never be alone.
What’s your favorite POM feature?
I absolutely love the 24/7 live command center assistance feature. This sets it apart from many apps that rely on sending distress signals to an emergency contact list of people who may not be alert and aware. The live voice on the other end is professional and responsive.
When do you normally use POM?
I have my POM on my key ring, so it always goes wherever I go. I don’t have to worry about not being able to find it. It is always on standby.
How does POM improve your sense of personal safety?
I travel quite a bit and cannot always take my pepper spray everywhere, but the POM goes everywhere! When out at night, I feel comforted that I have a way to get help if I feel that I am in danger. It truly offers peace of mind.
Do you have any other safety tips for people to improve their personal safety?
I advise everyone to utilize the number on safety tool that all animals in nature possess, but humans typically ignore, their gut, intuition, 6th sense and instinct. This built-in survival mechanism is hardly ever wrong and can save a life. It needs to be listened to and respected.
You can learn more about Tracey and her seminars on her website.
Want to spread peace of mind to those around you? Become a POM partner by reaching out to us here.
Our co-founder Lukas Lampe appeared on Jean Shin’s Mobile Interactions Now podcast. Jean’s podcast interviews technology leaders about building mobile experiences and sharing their first-hand experience on how to make them work.
Lukas discussed the story about how POM started, describes POMs current and future growth and the technology that enables POM to be a small, discrete personal safety device for students, realtors, nurses and anyone who may experience uncomfortable situations in their lives.
Listen here to the podcast.
Download the transcripts of Lukas on the Mobile Interactions Now Podcast: Part 1 & Part 2.
Earlier this month, Crains New York reported on POM’s partnership with Visiting Nurse Services Westchester. Headed by CEO Timothy Leddy, VNS Westchester was the very first home health service to use our device. The pilot program we implemented there led VNS Westchester to make the POM available to its entire field-based staff (more than 200 individuals). In addition, the company is currently working on offering it as an employee benefit to non-field-based workers and family members. We’re incredibly proud of the work we’re doing together with VNS Westchester, and can’t wait for this new chapter to unfold.
Click through the Crains link to read the full story or get the pdf here.
With the POM, it’s easy to connect to safety–three taps and help is on the way. But where does that help come from? For campuses, it’s typically that institution’s security team. If you’re a POM Personal user, however, we’re proud to share that we’ve partnered with Rapid Response, an industry-leading 24/7 emergency dispatch center.
Rapid Response has a 25-year track record of excellence and employs over 550 professionals in their self-sustaining, high-network security facilities in Syracuse, NY and Corona, CA. The company is the recipient of numerous awards, including the TMA Central Station of the Year, which cited its three-pronged “people, training, and technology approach.” Its technology and growth were also recently recognized by the New York State Governor’s Office.
For POM, the company acts as a 24/7 emergency call center. This means that when a POM user triple taps their device, a Rapid Response dispatcher receives the call and can talk to you directly through the POM.
The dispatcher will not only be able to see your location and profile information, but they can also track your movements to help ensure the right help gets to exactly where you are in real time. If you’re able to speak to the dispatcher, you can specify what help you need (police, ambulance, or firefighters). If you’re in a situation where you can’t talk freely, a police dispatch will be sent. In this way, peace of mind is truly something anyone can put in their pocket.
Like many college campuses, Creighton University in Omaha, NE has over 30 blue light emergency phones across its campus. However, these phones hadn’t been used for a legitimate emergency call in over a decade. This technology is dated and costly to maintain. It also provides no assistance when students travel off-campus.
Creighton’s Senior Director of Public Safety, Michael D. Reiner, recognized this and sought to enhance the sense of safety on campus by making it easier for community members to reach help and improve the sense of security on campus.
Reiner was uninterested in app-only solutions for numerous reasons. He felt that an expensive smartphone could distract students from ambient dangers as well as attract unwanted attention. In addition, the cold winters in Nebraska make operating a touch screen based panic button difficult with gloves. The phone would also have to be unlocked, and at-the-ready in the student’s hand, for an app based alert to be initiated quickly.
Instead, Reiner chose the POM, which he felt was easier to operate and had features that dovetailed well with a higher education environment. After a series of tests that included 37 alerts (three of which were sent from basement settings with poor signal), all of which returned a location accuracy of 13 feet or less, Reiner, along with leaders from Student Life, Public Safety, Student Government, and Admissions made an enthusiastic and unanimous decision to implement POM on campus.
As of spring 2019, over 2,250 POMs have been distributed at Creighton, primarily to undergraduate residential students. Creighton Public Safety has already received a total of 700 alerts and resolved two critical situations, an assault/attempted murder and a medical emergency. Subsequent user surveys show that 84% of Creighton’s students carry the POM regularly and 72% report feeling safer carrying the POM. Creighton University considers POM a great success, allowing users to quickly request emergency assistance and providing them with an increased level of security.
Download the Case Study to learn more about how POM made Creighton safer.