Telling Amy's Story

In 2010, PBS, Verizon and Penn State Public Broadcasting offered Joyful Heart the opportunity to partner with them in the documentary and Public Service Media Project Telling Amy's Story. The film tells the story of the life and subsequent death of Amy Homan McGee, who, after enduring years of abuse, was murdered by her husband in November 2001 in their home in Pennsylvania. Designed to bring attention to the realities of domestic violence by illuminating one victim's situation, Telling Amy's Story is not only an important educational tool, but a powerful film and call to action.

Joyful Heart President Mariska Hargitay welcomes guests at Telling Amy's Story Premiere.

Mariska Hargitay, Joyful Heart Foundation Founder and President, was humbled and honored by the invitation to host the film.

"I am proud to stand with Penn State Public Broadcasting, Verizon, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the administration and our partners to shed light on the often hidden epidemic of family violence."

The themes of Amy's story are suffering, desperation and isolation, but by bringing her story out into the open, we hope to counter those tragic themes with awareness, action and change. Mariska and Sheryl Cates, CEO Emeritus of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, conclude the film with a discussion of the issues it raises. Sheryl pinpoints why the film is so important:

"[Amy's] family was aware that [her husband] was violent, but didn't know what to do. And that's so often the case and that's why it's so important to have this documentary."

Amy was a graduate of Penn State University and a Verizon employee, facts which motivated both groups to become involved in this project. Speaking about Verizon's commitment to the film, Dan Mead, Chief Operating Officer of Verizon Wireless said, "Amy was a Verizon Wireless employee, so this is a very personal issue for all of us at Verizon."

Verizon Foundation President, Patrick Gaston, said of Joyful Heart's involvement:

"This groundbreaking film and national outreach program are a true testament to the power of partnership - and Verizon is very proud to be among the extraordinary team of organizations, foundations and individuals who made this program possible. We are especially grateful to the Joyful Heart Foundation, not only for your role in the film and the premiere, but also for your continued support as Amy's story is told across the country."

The National Domestic Violence Hotline, the National Network to End Domestic Violence, Esperanza, The Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation and the Futures Without Violence (then the Family Violence Prevention Fund) partnered in creating an outreach toolkit that accompanies the film. The kit offers suggestions to individuals and communities on how to come together around this issue and engage in a dialogue about the issue, as well as ways to get help, volunteer and donate.

The film debuted at the Newseum in Washington, DC on May 18, 2010 and was released for viewing on PBS stations on June 1, 2010. In an effort to engage communities and encourage collaboration with local domestic violence organizations, each PBS local channel will choose its own airdate. The film and all the outreach materials are also available in Spanish.

At Joyful Heart, we embrace, celebrate and seek to cultivate the collaborative spirit that allowed Amy Homan McGee's story to be told, and we proudly stand in partnership with the many individuals and organizations who helped make this project possible. 

Here are some ways you can stand with us and help tell Amy's story:

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