Wilton SafeRides welcomed 175 Wilton SafeRides student volunteers for training on Sunday, Sept. 11 at the Wilton Family YMCA. While several towns have reduced or eliminated their SafeRides programs over the years, this year Wilton will have the largest group of student volunteer participation to date. The highly popular service will be back in business beginning Friday, Sept. 16.
SafeRides operates out of Trackside Teen Center every Friday and Saturday night (weather permitting) during the school year, between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. Any student from Wilton High School needing a ride home for any reason can call 203.834.CARE (2273) and SafeRides student volunteers will be dispatched to safely drive the passenger home. All calls, names and destinations are kept completely confidential, with no questions asked.
Both Student Co-Heads, Lucy Corry and George Hahn, addressed the group and reviewed the rules.
“Five years ago SafeRides would need only three or four cars to handle the volume on a typical night,” Corry said. “Now we need double that. On busy nights, like Homecoming this fall, we will have two teams working simultaneously.”
“Both student volunteers and passengers are equally happy with SafeRides. Our friends stay safe and we have a lot of fun keeping them safe,” Hahn added.
Lt. David Hartman of the Wilton Police Department and a 1994 WHS graduate addressed the group and once again pledged the full support of WPD.
“Wilton SafeRides and the Wilton Police Dept. are in a close partnership. We are here to help you in any way we can,” he told the students.
Bob McDowell, CEO of Riverbrook YMCA, welcomed everyone and commended all attendees on their commitment to service. “You are here to help and protect not only your fellow students but everyone in the Wilton community. SafeRides is a hugely valuable asset to our community.” Volunteers also heard from Riverbrook YMCA certified Red Cross trainer Jordan Hack about safety.
Wilton SafeRides 2022-23 has eight Student Board members: Corry, Hahn, Josie Goldman, Brody Hess, Maddie Ratcliffe, Georgia Russnock, Sierra Schattenfield and Phoebe Snow.
Mike Safko established Wilton SafeRides with his daughter Lauren in 2013, and has served as Parent Coordinator for the past nine years. This year, Safko will be handing the reins to two new parent coordinators, Karen Brophy and Tracey Dean.
“We are looking forward to another safe and successful year ahead with this group of students committed to the safety of their peers,” Brophy said.
Safko called the commitment to service exhibited by the many students who have participated in SafeRides over the years “extraordinary.”
“We have been particularly grateful for the continued community support for this program, including the Wilton Police Department, the generosity of Trackside for providing the home from which the program operates, the Wilton Kiwanis Club, through which we are sponsored and insured, and GOOD Morning Wilton, for making the community aware of the program. It has been an honor to serve as Parent Coordinator and we look forward to the program continuing under the parent leadership of Ms. Brophy and Ms. Dean.”