School News

Souped-up SafeRides picks up students

by Rachel Salisbury

The SafeRides program is an essential component of LGHS, providing students with a dependable way of getting home on Friday nights. SafeRides has recently changed its leadership, venue, and number of volunteers. The program has had to make some adaptations in order to operate under different conditions.

The most significant of these adjustments is the change in schedule: SafeRides will now run solely on Friday nights and no longer on Saturdays. Instead of spreading volunteers thinly over the span of two nights, SafeRides has decided to adequately staff what they have found to be their busiest night. Karla Albright, the Executive Director of SafeRides, says “In the event that we have loads of dedicated volunteers on our teen/adult board, we will discuss expanding services to another night.”

The operation hours have also been shortened. The program now runs until 1:00 AM instead of 2:00 AM. They have found that the last hour of the night is when there is the least demand for the program. In order to increase the number of volunteers willing to stay for the full duration of the program, they have stopped running at this time.

SafeRides has also moved venues and made some administrative changes. It was previously run out of the Venue, but that location became unavailable, so it had to move elsewhere. Luckily, the United Methodist Church offered their teen center, Cafe Hope, to SafeRides and solved the location issue. There was also a shift in leadership, as the three young adults who worked on the program retired last year. A new teen/adult board is being created to run the program, and Albright says, “they will be making decisions on how to adapt the program to best meet the needs of our community.”

SafeRides plays a crucial role in the safety of LGHS students, because it serves the realistic needs of the student body. Instead of ignoring the fact that some students abuse substances, SafeRides offers a pragmatic solution that serves to prevent drunk driving. SafeRides is not just available to students who are impaired; it is available to all students who find themselves in an unsafe situation without a way home on Friday nights. SafeRides is a confidential program that does not aim to judge the morality of the decisions that students make. The program has been successful, with no LGHS teenage deaths related to drunk driving since SafeRides began ten years ago. This is a great improvement when compared with the average of about one death every three years before the program began.

Although this program is supported by the students, there is always a need for more volunteers. Volunteering for SafeRides doesn’t just give students community service hours, as the program also offers training in SafeRides procedures and gives volunteers an opportunity to work with other students.To learn more about SafeRides, come to the next training day on Oct. 30, find SafeRides on Facebook, or contact them at

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