Club Steers Clear of Drunk Driving

Although the school has many charity clubs, it is not often that the students in these groups get to directly meet the people whom they affect.
Hoping to deter teens from the temptation to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, the Safe Rides club provides an alternative means for students to return home unharmed.
“Safe Rides is definitely a great resource that many students take advantage of,” club adviser Galen Rosenberg said.
The club doesn’t encourage underage drinking, but hopes to provide an option to those who choose to partake. Co-president senior Courtney Sandlin said that the amount of action varies based upon how many calls are received.
“If there are a lot of calls [one] night, the drivers are out for pretty much the entire night going from one pickup and drop-off location to another,” Courtney said. “If there are barely any calls, we usually all just sit in the Palo Alto Red Cross chapter room and hang out, eating food, playing Pictionary, watching movies or watching [senior] Andrea Infeld dance.”
Those who are unwilling or unable to provide rides can remain behind and answer the phone, noting all of the necessary information to relay to the drivers. As for lunchtime meetings, the club does not just sit back and wait for the weekend.
“At the meetings we talk about how we could fundraise to help keep Safe Ride a club that is functioning,” Courtney said. “Each school has to raise $300 per year, and [we also hope] to spread awareness of our club so that there are fewer drunk teenagers driving home.”
The job of chauffeuring drunken students around does not come without its interesting escapades. It is not uncommon for members to pick up drunken college students, take trips to donut shops instead of the passengers’ houses or venture an hour and a half into the middle of nowhere.
Although Rosenberg is in charge of the paperwork and funding behind the club, he said that it is almost entirely led by the students.
“Safe Rides is great because it’s an entirely student-run organization that actually benefits people in need,” senior Jason DeMayo said. “It’s also really fun to be a part of.”
Like Safe Rides clubs at other schools, the club works approximately 2 nights a month from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Overall, the students who are actively involved with Safe Rides look forward to the nights when they will be working.
Roughly 50 students are signed up as club members, yet only 8 are allowed to work each night at the Palo Alto Red Cross chapter. Club officers try to get every interested student involved, although the majority of the students involved regularly are seniors.
“This club is definitely not just for seniors, but it does make it a lot more fun,” Courtney said. “This is just because you are able to drive people, rather than just hanging out at the chapter room in Palo Alto.”