May 15, 2014 7:22 PM
The founder of Your Safe Ride Home, a free ride service for Chico State students, says he's broke and his program is struggling to stay alive.
“People…they party long, and we want to make sure we could actually accompany our hours and make sure we could actually get people facilitated and get that safe ride home,” said Matthew Riebe in an interview with Action News Now two months ago.
When Action News Now first met Matthew Riebe in late February, the Chico State student was riding (or driving) high on the program he had just started, called Your Safe Ride Home.
It’s a free-of-charge ride service for Chico State students when they're winding down their night of partying, operating Thursday nights through Sunday mornings.
When Action News Now ran into Riebe on campus a couple of weeks ago, he said he's since dropped out of school to fully commit himself to Your Safe Ride Home.
There's just one problem: He's broke.
“Of course we're reaching a problem with finances,” said Riebe. “We're giving free rides and unfortunately not making any money.”
But there is always strength in numbers. Because though it started with one person, and one car, Riebe's program now has around 15 driver and co-pilot volunteers, along with a board of directors.
“I think that message is getting out there,” said Your Safe Ride Home Secretary Emily Jones. “People are very thankful and grateful for us.”
And Riebe needs that message to survive, not die, just because he's broke and program funds are dwindling.
“I need more people to keep this fire going,” Riebe said.
“It’s really hard for a program like ours to generate a profit,” said Your Safe Ride Home Volunteer Morgan Rowley.” “We're not selling a service that generates money.”
But Rowley said the upcoming summer break will be a good time for your safe ride home to develop a game plan.
They want to become a non-profit business. To do so, they'll file paperwork, come up with fundraising ideas, and look for grants they may be eligible for.
In the meantime, they’ll need more volunteers on board.
“If you give me the capabilities, I will make sure and move mountains, [to] make sure we have no more student victims in Chico,” Riebe said. “That's my passion. I’m hoping to do that with Your Safe Ride Home, I just need help.”
Your Safe Ride Home has evolved from using Facebook to connect with riders, to now, Google voice.
Riebe said the number of rides they give out varies each weekend, but the biggest yet has been driving 50 students home.