Safe Rides provides safe rides for second year

November 2, 2009 — by Amanda Yi

The school has decided to run Safe Rides for the second year in a row.

Starting Nov. 14, the Safe Rides committee, consisting of about 20 juniors and seniors, will meet at St. Andrews Church every second and fourth Friday and Saturday of the month from 10 p.m.-2a.m, answer phones and give rides to students who need them.

“The purpose of Safe Rides is to provide transportation home for Saratoga High Students who are in potentially dangerous situations, no questions asked,” said co-coordinator Tiffany Mo, a senior.

Mo and senior Kevin Rollinson have been planning Safe Rides through the school’s leadership class. Last year’s leadership class sought approval for the project from the school district and the city.

“[Last year,] it was difficult for us to start the program because the city was completely against it,” said Mo. “They thought it would support teen drinking, but we try to make it as clear as possible that we’re just there to provide a confidential ride home for students in unsafe situations.”
Safe Rides has been much easier to put together.

“[Kevin and I] had to get a new phone number; we’re using Google voice,” said Mo. “But other than that, we just have to talk to the insurance people, recruit volunteers and make sure this thing stays organized.”

For the first Safe Rides meeting held in early October, only six people came because it was not well publicized.

“Kevin put up some flyers and put in an announcement, but that was only a couple days ahead and I don’t think people really knew about it,” said Mo. Since then, they have set up a Facebook group for the committee, greatly improving communication.

Currently, the group needs more boys to sign up. Every car needs a male and a female, but only about five or six males showed up to the first training meeting, Mo said.

“The turnout was lower than last year, but we were glad that that many people showed up, but we still need more guys,” said Mo. “We have about 15 girls and five guys, but we can’t run if we have 10 girls on a night with no guys.”

Safe Rides only provides rides home when students are in an unsafe circumstance. A driver of a car may have consumed alcoholic beverages and the people in the car may not have a reliable ride home, or a girl may be on a date that she feels uncomfortable on.

“We won’t take you from party to party; we only take you home,” said Mo. “We also are not to be used as a taxi service, and we only pick up students who attend Saratoga High.

Safe Rides is a nationwide program sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America youth development program Learning for Life. The school is a registered chapter of this program.

There are over 650 other Safe Rides programs in the United States all with the same goal: to reduce the number of drinking and driving fatalities.
The Safe Rides committee is hoping that students will take advantage of the program rather than risk the possibility of a dangerous situation.

“Everything is confidential,” said Mo. “There are chaperones in the room with us, but no adults will ever know who we pick up.”

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