Wilton SafeRides welcomed over 185 student volunteers for training on Sunday, Sept. 10 at the Riverbrook YMCA, reflecting the continuously growing popularity of the program. While surrounding towns have pared back or even eliminated their SafeRides programs, the Wilton program continues to thrive.
Wilton High School senior Josie Goldman is one of this year’s SafeRides co-heads.
“Not only are we providing more and more rides each year, this year we also experienced an explosion of student volunteers wanting to be part of the program. We have increasing demand for our service matched with an expanding group of student volunteers who want to help. It’s awesome,” she said.
SafeRides operates out of Trackside Teen Center offering safe rides home to any Wilton High School student on Friday and Saturday nights between 10 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. Upon receipt of a call at 203.834.CARE (2273), SafeRides student volunteers are dispatched to drive students home. All calls, names and destinations are kept confidential, and the service is free of charge.
Bob McDowell, CEO of the Riverbrook YMCA, led off the program by thanking everyone for their commitment to community service. “The Y is proud to be associated with Wilton SafeRides,” he said.
McDowell was followed by Wilton Police Lt. David Hartman (“WHS ’94”), a frequent speaker at SafeRides meetings. “Wilton SafeRides and the Wilton Police Department are in a close partnership. It is one of the many reasons that Wilton SafeRides was chosen as the recipient of the WPD’S Blue Angel Award, [which is] given to an organization whose efforts provide a valuable community service to the Town of Wilton. No organization in our town is more deserving than Wilton SafeRides,” Hartman said.
Shelly Keyes and Skyler Reading (WHS ’25) of the Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corp (WVAC) were up next with advice on how to recognize alcohol poisoning and when to call 911 for assistance. Reading also provided insight on what it’s like to be WVAC volunteer EMT in high school and encouraged her fellow students to consider becoming WVAC volunteers this fall when a new training class starts on Oct. 1.
Goldman concluded the meeting with a review of the Rules of SafeRides and Trackside and introduced the Student Board for 2023-24: Co-Head Brody Hess, Sierra Schattenfield, Phoebe Snow, Sofia Samai, Lia Lombardi, Henry Soon and Georgia Polito.
The program is always in need of parent volunteers. SafeRides and Trackside require at least one parent volunteer to be on premises whenever the program is operating.
Karen Brophy is the parent coordinator of Wilton SafeRides and is excited to get started.
“We are looking forward to another safe and successful year with everyone committed to safety. Our first night will be this Friday, Sept. 15,” she said.
Brophy added her thanks for those who help Wilton SafeRides stay successful. “The Wilton Police Department; Trackside, for providing a beautiful and welcoming space for our student volunteers; the Wilton Kiwanis Club through which we are sponsored and insured; and GOOD Morning Wilton for making the community aware of the program. And last but not least, the parents for sharing their teens with us and likely paying for the fuel,” she said.