Giving teens a safe ride home - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Giving teens a safe ride home

Rose and David Bongiovani Rose and David Bongiovani

TOWN OF WESTPORT (WKOW) -- For the past three months, David and Rose Bongiovani have been making sure teenagers get home safe after they've been drinking.

They and other volunteers have given 56 safe rides home to teenagers in Waunakee and Westport.

"We were just going from one call to the next," said Rose. "We were in the car from 11:30 p.m. to quarter to 2 a.m."

Rose and David remember picking up teenagers on Waunakee's 2008 homecoming night.

"There was a teen that hadn't been thinking about drinking, went downtown," David said. "Circumstances changed, he ended up drinking. And he remembered he had our business card in his wallet."

The couple wishes the program had existed for their daughter Sierra, and friend Michele Koster. The teens died last November in a car crash. Both were intoxicated.

"Kids don't like to disappoint their parents," Rose said. "And sometimes their afraid of their parents."

That's why they say Safe Rides plays such a crucial role in keeping teens, their friends, and people in the community safe from the effects of alcohol.

"Most of the rides that we give, they're very thankful, polite, we've never had anyone who's been belligerent, or extremely intoxicated -- that's not happened yet, " David said.

Their goal now is to keep the program going. To do that, they need more volunteers. They're already recruiting high schoolers to help as navigators.

"The teens -- you can tell how good they feel when the night's over," said Rose. "They've helped another teen. They got them home safe."

The Bongiovanis said 1/5 of the calls they get are from people who were not drinking -- people who had a date gone bad, or a flat tire.

The program is confidential and available to teens in the Waunakee area, Fridays and Saturdays, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Teen Safe Rides (608) 444-9198

Volunteers (608) 444-2669

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