Recent gift fuels URI’s Rhody Rides program

KINGSTON, R.I. – November 15, 2006 – The University of Rhode Island designated driver program, “Rhody Rides,” recently received a generous donation of $5,000 from the Katie DeCubellis Memorial Foundation.

This donation will help fuel the objectives of the organization and all of its vehicles for the 2006-2007 school year.

Katie DeCubellis is a well-known Rhode Islander who died in October of 1999 at the age of 13 when a drunk driver hit the car in which she was traveling. Her father, John DeCubellis, spoke at the recent Rhody Rides meeting, expressing his support for the program. He also presented the program with the donation check.

“Our entire foundation board was extremely impressed by this program and proud of the students’ insight in developing such a necessary and worthwhile service, the first of its kind in New England,” DeCubellis said. “Their organization, attention to detail and commitment is amazing, and we are happy to contribute to a program that is definitely making a positive difference in our community.”

Rhody Rides members listened to other speakers at the meeting including founder Judy Duhamel, who is a 2006 URI graduate from Westerly, R.I., as well as Dean of students Fran Cohen, and URI professor Mark Wood, who co-directs the university’s Common Ground substance abuse prevention program with Cohen.

Rhody Rides was developed and is operated by URI student volunteers and is financially dependant on contributions. The program provides safe alternative transportation to prevent URI students from driving under the influence of alcohol or riding with an intoxicated friend who refuses to turn over the keys.

Rhody Rides was successful in its first year. They had over 70 active volunteers who operated 15 weekend nights and provided over 300 rides. So far this semester, the program has provided about 150 rides. It currently serves as a research project and is a model program for other schools.

Other sponsors for the program include local businesses, Enterprise Rent-a-Car and a $25,000 research contribution pledged by Common Ground.

To support the program, contact Lauren Lawson at 401-286-2795 or e-mail For more information, visit

Pictured above

Rhody Rides receives donation: The University of Rhode Island’s designated driver program received a $5,000 donation from the Kate DeCubellis Memorial Foundation. Shown here, from left, are South Kingstown Police Detective Michael Chappel, donors John and Meg DeCubellis, and Judy Duhamel and Lauren Lawson of Rhody Rides. URI News Bureau Photo by Michael Salerno Photography.