SafeRides Adds New Positions As Volunteer Pool Increases

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saturday night live: The number of SafeRides volunteer positions will be increased starting Nov. 3. It will now operate with four cars, two dispatchers, and a board member on duty. | Photo by Blythe Lewis '13

The future for SafeRides looks bright with 78 returning members and 132 new volunteers. Currently operating only on Saturday nights, the increase of volunteers has the SafeRides Board debating the possibility of operating on Friday nights, too.

When SafeRides opened in 2009, it required members to volunteer six Saturdays out of the entire school year. But now that there are about 210 members, and only 400 volunteer spots available for the year, unless SafeRides starts operating on Fridays or employing more cars on Saturdays, volunteers will only need to volunteer twice a year.

“The more cars we operate, the more equipment we need to own, so in some ways it would be easier to open on Fridays rather than operate many more cars on Saturdays,” Julie Mombello, an adult member of the SafeRides Board, said.

Before the board members decides whether or not they will run SafeRides on Fridays, they will use the month of November as a test run for operating with more volunteers.

Starting Nov. 13, SafeRides will operate with four cars, with two students per car, two dispatchers, and one board member on duty.

This will mean 11 volunteers per Saturday night as opposed to the six that were used when the program first opened, and the eight that have been used for the past year.

If SafeRides started operating on Friday nights, this would require a larger commitment then two Saturdays a year by the volunteers.

Though welcoming of all new members, board member Courtney Garzone ’11 explains that volunteers need to take their commitment to SafeRides seriously rather than treating it as another activity to add to their college applications because volunteers become responsible for keeping their peers safe..

SafeRides success depends on the dedication of its volunteers and the program should not be taken advantage of the Board says.

“SafeRides is not a school club in the sense that you come when you can and get involved as much or as little as you want to,” Catherine Davis, another parent member of the Board, said. “We require training, insurance and responsibility to others.”

Board member Jake McCambley ’11 is responsible for SafeRides’ publicity. In the beginning of the year, he spoke to the incoming freshman, hung posters around school, and created Facebook groups and events.

He saw how spreading the word sparked the attention of students.

“[The] great thing is that it has snowballed, friends have wanted to work, and they want to work with their friends, so more and more people end up becoming volunteers to make each Saturday night an event with their friends,” McCambley said.

Because old members had positive experiences with the program more students became interested in getting involved..

“It’s a great way to spend a Saturday night, you get to talk to new people, relax and hang out with your other friends working that night, and rack up the community service hours all at the same time,” Garzone said.

Students, the Board said, are also attracted the the program, because they are become aware of the consequences of drunk driving through Grim Reaper Day, the news, and even experience. SafeRides aims to prevent these situations from occurring, and gives students a way to be proactive in preventing drunk driving tragedies.

“I believe that the primary reason that anyone volunteers to work for SafeRides is to save lives. If one life is saved, then the whole program is worth it,” Mombello said.

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