‘Buddy Benches’ help students who feel lonely

3 benches set up for recess at Eagle Bluff Elementary in Onalaska

Students at Eagle Bluff Elementary School in Onalaska created a “Buddy Bench” to help their classmates.

The idea is students who feel lonely at recess can head over to the bench and the other kids will see them and ask them to play.

A handful of students gave up their recess time to paint the benches on Thursday afternoon. They said making the benches more colorful can also help kids.

“Let’s say they see a rainbow. They might think of ways to solve their problems, and so different designs might help them get out of their situation,” said 5th grader Lily Zang.

The school has three benches so far teachers say the “buddy bench” gives students a new outlet to better understand those in need.

“If you got a broken leg everybody gives you sympathy. They see the leg they see the crutches but if you’re hurting inside because somebody was mean to you, there is no way to find out unless you tell us and this Buddy Bench is a way for them to do that,” said Eagle Bluff Elementary Art Facilitator Pat Stellflue.

Teachers and students hope these benches become a fixture at schools across the area.