Teri Vance: Carson City Safe Grad event needs volunteers to continue | NevadaAppeal.com

Teri Vance: Carson City Safe Grad event needs volunteers to continue

Teri Vance

Since the inception of Carson High School’s Safe Grad celebration in 1988, there has not been a drunk driving accident or fatality on graduation night.

“I think that’s pretty significant,” said Jodi Swirczek, vice president of the Safe Grad committee.

But she worries about the future of the tradition.

“We are at a dire straits,” she said. “We have had three officers leave the committee — after several years of service — at the end of the last school year. We have myself and the president leaving at the end of the coming school year. We have no one to replace any of us.”

Jodi called me this week in hopes of recruiting more people to serve on the committee, both as officers and general membership.

“We need to get word out to the community if Safe Grad has a chance of continuing after this next school year,” she said. “There’s a lot of effort that’s put into it all year long. If everybody had a little task, it would make all of it a lot easier.”

Jodi has served on the committee the past two years with plans to continue this year.

However, she wants to quit after this year so she can spend her youngest daughter’s senior year focused on her.

“We need people to step up and learn the ropes this year,” she said. “We need people who are willing to take control.”

Karri Couste, president and Darla Dodge, ex-treasurer, have been leading the program for the last seven years.

“They have had a significant impact on how the program is run today,” Jodi said.

Kim Dawley just retired from being the Transportation to Six Flags Coordinator for more than 25 years.

Deanna Fine, ex-secretary, worked with the committee for three years.

Julie Slocum has been the volunteer coordinator since 2014. Darla and John Dodge have been running the Safe Grad 5k for the last four years, and they raised more than $10,000 this year — the committee’s biggest fundraiser.

They also left last year so someone is needed to spearhead that event.

Jodi said they have considered cutting out the trip to Six Flags in Vallejo, Calif., as a way to save money and organizational time.

“I hope that doesn’t have to happen,” she said. “Every year, we give the kids a survey, and they say they wouldn’t come to Safe Grad if the trip wasn’t connected to it.”

Jodi, whose father killed someone in a drunk driving accident, said the event is close to her heart.

“I feel it is important,” she said. “I want these kids to have a safe way to celebrate.”

To learn more about Safe Grad, go to carsonhighsafegrad.com. To volunteer, email carsonhighsafegrad@gmail.com.

Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at terivance@rocketmail.com.