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Syosset Student Provides 'Saferide' Home

Syosset senior Joshua Lafazan gives peers a free ride home as a community effort to stop teenage drinking and driving.

 

When Syosset  High School Senior Joshua Lafazan saw the arrest of former Jet Braylon Edwards, a question popped into his head.

There were three other players as passengers in the vehicle; Lafazan felt they should not have been in the situation of driving with a drunk driver.

"And if they, with the support of the whole Jets organization and millions of dollars, could make that decision," Lafazan says.  "What about my Syosset High School classmates?"

Lafazan took to action.  After consulting with close friends, his newly founded group, which he titled "Saferide", managed to pick up 15 volunteer drivers, each volunteering a Friday or Saturday night out of the month to drive Syosset teens home safely.

Now, 10 weeks and 130 passengers later, Saferide has 40 volunteers, and the commitment is a night every other month, which Lafazan attributes to the success of the program.  His biggest achievement, however, he feels is that the Saturday before Halloween, Saferide took 25 Syosset teens safely.

However, some have questioned the group's underlying message, and say that Saferide encourages teenage drinking.

"Kids have been drinking alcohol for generations," responds Lafazan.  "Our goal is not to eradicate teenage drinking.  It is, however to stop teenage drinking and driving."

Lafazan hopes to bring Saferide to every high school in Nassau County, and says he's already heard interest from teens in Bethpage.  

Still, he holds to a basic principle that's been his goal ever since the formation of Saferide:

"We want to make sure that anybody who needs a safe ride home, feels that they can call us, with no judgement passed," Lafazan says.

sue December 22, 2011 at 11:10 PM
great job Josh
Joshua Lafazan December 23, 2011 at 02:21 AM
For those that would say my program encourages teen drinking, my response is that teenage drinking has been going on for many years, even before I was born. The amount of teens drinking and driving has been way too high. The amount of students who are willing to volunteer their time and effort to help solve this problem is way to small. Those that would see this program in a negative light for encouraging teen drinking must also think MADD encourages teen drinking. I did not create the problem, I am just trying to do my part in keeping Syosset teens safe from hurting themselves or others within the community.
rena damon December 23, 2011 at 12:05 PM
Great job. If kids are drinking and someone is willing to give them a ride home it will prevent an unfortunate, perhaps tragic, accident. Kudo's to you and your fellow volunteers.
Mike Bruschini December 23, 2011 at 08:20 PM
According to national surveys conducted by DrugFree.org and other publications, alcohol use among teenagers is on the rise nationwide. From the DrugFree.org fact sheet: On an average day, 7,540 adolescents 12-17 drank alcohol for the first time.
Bev Macuk December 23, 2011 at 11:21 PM
Who can tell how many lives this effort might save, perhaps yours, because an inpaired teenager was not at the wheel or your daughter/son did not become a victim after foolish accepting a ride

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