Individuals with the Logan County Board of DD Aktion Club are hoping their project to commemorate 50 years of county boards will extend goodwill for years to come.
The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities is celebrating half a century of existence with the slogan “Always There” and encouraging each county board to create a special project using that theme.
Aktion Club members, Board of DD staff and a few students from Riverside Local Schools gathered at the board offices Friday to build what’s known as “buddy benches” for Riverside and West Liberty-Salem Elementary School playgrounds.
Aktion Club President Jacob Hawk explains that buddy benches represent the “Always There” theme perfectly because they are a seat where a student can go if he or she is feeling lonely or left out. Others will see that person on the bench and ask if they would like to talk or play.
Hawk says, “They are a good idea because they give kids a place to make friends. That’s hard sometimes.”
Logan County Board of DD Community First Coordinator Kelli Bader says the Aktion Club came up with the idea to make buddy benches for local elementary schools in need a few years ago, but it took a while to raise funds. With Aktion Club dollars and help from an anonymous donor, every area elementary will now be equipped.
“The Board wanted to support the Aktion Club’s efforts by making this Logan County’s ‘Always There’ project,” Bader says. “The idea is to show the community that we care and to do something to keep helping into the future.”
Riverside third grader Kailyn Lemly, along with her siblings and friends, was proud to help paint the benches. She says “We need something on our playground because some people don’t have anyone to play with. Now they will.”
Bader says the benches will be delivered to Riverside and West Liberty Elementary before school begins. They will be finished off with student hand prints in the fall.