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Apparel and Beauty Firms' Good Deeds Earn WWD Award

If there is one thing that stands out about the winners of this year's Community Service Awards, it is their dedication. The winners went beyond token donations to existing charities.

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If there is one thing that stands out about the winners of this year's Community Service Awards, it is their dedication. The winners went beyond token donations to existing charities. In the case of Liz Claiborne and Bestseller, they created unique and effective solutions to underaddressed problems. Many of this year's winners also stand out for involving customers and employees in their charitable efforts.

Claiborne Talks to Teens About Abuse

Liz Claiborne Inc. has been helping teens recognize and get out of abusive relationships since 2005. For example, one teen realized she was in an abusive relationship after reading another girl's story in Seventeen magazine, one of Claiborne's partners in the Love Is Not Abuse program. She contacted a hotline Claiborne helped create and was able to leave the relationship. Now a sophomore in college, she tells other teens the story of the boyfriend who verbally abused her and threw her against a school locker.

Claiborne's thinking is that talking to young people early in their dating years will help break patterns of abuse and ultimately help end domestic violence.

The apparel brand has researched teen violence, founded a teen dating abuse hotline, put together an educational Web site and developed a three-day educational program for ninth and 10th graders that has been taught in more than 1,000 high schools in the U.S.

"Ideally we would like to get it into every high school," said Jane Randel, vice president of corporate communications for Liz Claiborne.

The company's latest research shows that technologies such as cell phones, pagers and the Internet are being used to stalk and bully victims. "Girls in relationships are being contacted by partners 30 to 60 times an hour asking 'Who are you with, what are you doing?'" said Randel. The company is updating its curriculum to reflect the findings.

Claiborne partnered with the National Domestic Abuse Help Hotline and donated $1 million over several years to launch the Teen Dating Violence Hotline last year. It is staffed partly by well-trained teen volunteers. "Kids are talking to peers, which is unique," said Randel.

The organization advises teens to let friends in abusive relationships know they are not alone, they don't deserve to be mistreated and that there are people who can help them.

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