UPDATED: Friday, July 9, 2010 --- 9:31 p.m.
A teen safe ride program in Sun Prairie is calling it quits.
It started after two tragic deaths but without volunteers organizers say they have no choice.
At a popular lunchtime hangout for Sun Prairie High Schoolers the business cards are still in the window.
Teen safe rides on Friday and Saturday nights, no questions asked.
It's an option that will end this weekend.
Program organizer Eileen Stevens says, "It's very disappointing, very. It was a hard decision but we can't do it."
Stevens organized the program 3 years ago after the drunk driving deaths of 17-year-old Waunakee students Sierra Bongiovani and Michele Koster but she says without enough teen volunteers to provide the rides she has to shut it down.
She says, "Our volunteers put a lot of time and effort into it and it's hard. It's hard to let it go."
The idea, like it says, is to get kids home safely. Sometimes they've been drinking but Stevens says the majority are just in a tough spot.
The sad irony for Stevens is that recently this program has really caught on. They're giving more teens rides than ever before. The volunteers are another story.
She says, "We have a lot of people who've said they'd like to volunteer, they're willing to volunteer, but the application never gets returned."
Now Stevens worries about what might happen without the program around.
She says, "They might get in the car and drive now or they might get in the car with an impaired driver. It's a scary thought."
Stevens says they will be giving rides tonight and tomorrow night but after that the program is done.
They're short about 50 student volunteers.
Posted Thursday, July 8, 2010 --- 6:48 p.m.
Report from our News Partner, the Sun Prairie Star:
The volunteer Teen Safe Ride program, which provides free and confidential rides to teens on Friday and Saturday nights, in Sun Prairie will be closing after this weekend, July 9 and 10.
“It is with great regret that I announce that the Sun Prairie Teen Safe Ride non-profit Program will be ending their Friday/Saturday night service providing free, safe, confidential rides to teens,” said program coordinator Eileen Stevens. “The closure is not due to the lack of teens using the service. Over 400 rides home have been provided to Sun Prairie teens in the last one and a half years. Even if just one of those rides saved a life or saved somebody from an assault, then it was all worth it.”
The decision to shut the service down was made due to lack of volunteers to cover the Safe Ride shifts on Friday and Saturday nights.
Click the link BELOW to read the Star's full report.