Need a buddy? Take a seat …

Most Shoal-area residents who attended elementary school can probably recall a day on the playground as they waited patiently for an invitation to join a group engaged in activity. Those anxious moments should be fewer on the playgrounds of all Lauderdale County’s private and public schools thanks to the addition of Buddy Benches.

Florence Exchange Club member Norman Ross spent eight months building the benches with help from students at Allen Thornton Career Technical Center. The benches are made of treated lumber and feature an eye-catching yellow back emblazoned with the words “Buddy Bench.”

A total of 21 benches were built.

Here’s how the benches work: A student who feels lonely or sad, or just doesn’t have anyone to play with, sits on a bench. Other students keep an eye on the benches. When they see someone sit down on a bench, they should go over and talk to the student, or invite them to play.

It’s a great idea that encourages students to be more aware of those around them. Most importantly, the children sitting on the benches get a dose of unexpected kindness, and who doesn’t need more of that? Read more.