Pain into purpose: Teen Safe Rides - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Pain into purpose: Teen Safe Rides

WAUNAKEE (WKOW) -- For the Bongiovanni family, the death of their daughter Sierra and friend Michele Koster is a fresh horrifying memory.

"Everyday, every hour," says father David Bongiovanni.

"It's like you're in a nightmare every single day," says mother Rose Bongiovanni.

The teens died in a car crash with Sierra at the wheel. Both were intoxicated.

Eight months later, the shattered parents try to heal by helping others with the Sierra Bongiovanni and Michele Koster Memorial Teens Safe Rides Program.

"Its a way to have something good come out of something bad," says David Bongiovanni.

Starting Friday from 10pm to 2am, friday's and saturdays, an adult supervisor will watch over two teens who will answer phones and relay information,

to two 16 year olds in a car picking up teens in the Waunakee area.

They will be taking them home. Whether they'd been drinking or not is confidential.

"The reason they got their ride home us between them and it's that simple," says David Bongiovanni.

Rose Bongiovanni and her family didn't just start the program, they are also volunteers.

Right now they are 20 people short, but don't mind pulling extra shifts.

"If a supervisor can't make it, I'll be the back up," she says.

Still, they could use a lot of help.

"Especially from the teens, the 16 and 16 and a half year olds," David Bongiovanni says.

David Bongiovanni relives his daughters death every day, but hopes giving rides will keep other parents from sharing his pain.

"Our goal is to save lives. My daughter was looking for a ride that night, but she didn't get it," he says.

There are some who are concerned that the Teen Safe Rides Program gives teens a reason to drink.

Bongiovanni says the grim reality is some teens are drinking anyway.

He says the program is an alternative to those kids driving home drunk, risking their lives and the lives of others.

The facilities were donated by Acker Builders and Reality and the car was donated by Waunakee Auto Body who is also paying for the gas.

The Bongiovanni's also put in a lot of their own money, $700 dollars to purchase items such as cell phones.

For a safe ride contact Sierra Bongiovanni and Michele Koster Memorial Teen Safe Rides at 444-9198

Or to volunteer or help the cause, call David Bongiovanni at 608-444-2669

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