Late at night teens may find themselves in difficult positions and it can be even worse if they are too afraid to call parents for a ride. Partner a Child Foundation wants to make the safest choice an easier one.
"Sometimes kids find themselves in a bad spot and quite often they're afraid to call home," said James Rose, programs director at Partner a Child, a non-profit corporation. "I've raised five kids in Ahwatukee and I've still got a 10-year-old in the Kyrene School District. I was talking to my oldest son one night about the problem and we thought ‘there's got to be a better way.'"
It's not the first time this idea has been brought up. Cab companies around the Valley have tried to offer free services in order to keep drunk drivers off the road. They've offered free rides from any business, to a person's home. However, they've had problems with people taking advantage of the system, Rose said, adding that he hopes by starting in the schools and educating teens and their parents this new program will be successful. The company wants to offer teens in Ahwatukee Foothills a free ride home from any dangerous situation.
"We can pick them up from school, from a residence or even a restaurant if they need it," Rose said. "If there are 10 to 15 of them, we'll pick up 10 to 15. We don't want anyone driving."
For now the idea is just getting started and the company is looking for public support.
Cars and vans are needed, running or not, to help the program go smoothly. Volunteers will pick up anything that could be sold or used for resources for free and provide the donor with a receipt to verify the tax-deductible donation.
"Our foundation has contracted with an automotive salvage yard to give us a $150 cash donation for every vehicle we bring them," said a statement from Partner a Child." These funds pay for safe vans, cars, fuel and insurance to transport our children to their destinations with volunteer drivers."
The organization hopes to start with Kyrene and Tempe Union school districts. Workshops would include stories of teens in the Valley who have died or injured others due to drunk driving and discussions about pressure teens may face. The group will educate teens and parents about their completely free alternative to driving impaired or staying in any dangerous situation.
"I have a passion to help kids and a passion to start in my own backyard," Rose said. "We just need to find the right people to help us get started."
All donations can be sent to Partner a Child Foundation, Inc., 15815 S. 46th St., Suite 116, Phoenix, 85048. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call James Rose at (480) 969-3724, ext. 1. The group's website, partnerachild.info, will begin posting upcoming events after Oct. 1.
Allison Hurtado is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a junior at Arizona State University.