To the Editor:
We are in awe. Growing up in this community, it’s easy to take the Island people’s generosity for granted.
Janet Hefler wrote a wonderful article about the danger of SafeRides closing down because we really didn’t have a fundraising mechanism in place. We don’t have a lot of expenses, but our biggest is the re-chartering through the Boy Scouts. Since they provide the liability insurance for the entire program, it’s our most important expense. When Janet told our story, the Island really answered the call, showing us that the community values this program. So on we go!
Thanks to all of the people who sent checks, with a special thanks to the Alex Foundation, whose trustees have promised $3,000 this year and a matching $3,000 each year for the forseeable future. The Mone Family and friends stepped up with a total of $3,000, in honor of their son Ryan. We got $1,500 from Our Island Club, parents of students, former students, and people who wish to keep their generosity and support quiet. There were many other checks large and small, and every single dollar will go to running the SafeRides program into the future.
We held an adult training and certification last week and saw about 15 new faces — mixed in with our 20-plus “regulars.” Presumably these folks will take some of the weekend slots over from the parents who started with their kids in high school. The first group of SafeRides “kids” that started with Pam Carelli (founder of the Island SR program) are turning 30 this year. There is a trained adult with the kids every time SafeRides runs.
And finally, we can never forget the people who have stood behind the program no matter what the budget said. Among them, Alice Robinson, Lori Stone, Karen Bressler, and Kathy Retmier; Jim’s Package Store, which supplies some of the gas for the drivers; The Mailroom, which has given us a mailbox for the last 12 years; the Hebrew Community Center, which lets a group of teenagers use their building in the wee hours of Friday and Saturday nights; and JB at Sharkey’s who will open both restaurants and carry-out to a “Dine To Donate” benefiting SafeRides, to be held next week on February 22. Join us there.
And I am sure there are more people than I have listed here, because it really does take a village to keep our kids healthy and safe. Thank you, village.
Ben RetmierSafeRides Adult Leader
Micheala GainesStudent SafeRides President