Buddy Bench project starts in Lauderdale County schools - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Buddy Bench project starts in Lauderdale County schools

These Buddy Benches will be placed at Lauderdale County elementary schools to encourage sociability. (Source: WAFF) These Buddy Benches will be placed at Lauderdale County elementary schools to encourage sociability. (Source: WAFF)
LAUDERDALE COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

Lauderdale County elementary schools are adding a new addition to their playground equipment for students to check on their friends when they're feeling sad. It's called a Buddy Bench. It's an idea to help recess be more inclusive.

"You know as well as I do if you have a friend, you are happier,” said Norman Ross. “A happier child makes better students and better students learn more, so it’s very beneficial to the system."

Ross is the chairman for the project with the Florence Exchange Club.

How it works is if a student sees another student sitting on the bench, it's a signal they need a friend.

"It's a good sign if the bench is empty," Ross said.

It's a way for new kids to make buddies easier or students that are shy or for any other reason that they don't have a friend that day.

"I think it's a great concept. You'll see kids playing by themselves and this will give them a place to go that will be a signal to them to go be a buddy or a friend to someone who is feeling left out," said Forest Hills School Principal Michael South.

Florence Exchange Club made 21 benches and plans to set them up at playgrounds starting next week. It's just one project to help kids make more friends and a way, they hope, to prevent bullying.

"Naturally, at this age group, I think lower elementary especially, they are always looking how can I be a friend to someone so I think this will contribute to helping to that," South said.

Florence Exchange Club built an extra bench and will give it to the State Exchange Club so that another community can start the program.

Someone in Florence who heard about the project paid for all of the benches and paint, which cost about $1,700.

All of the schools will be having a ceremony to explain what the benches mean and how to use them at the beginning of the school year.

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