TAWAS CITY – With an element of reciprocity also in mind, the two Buddy Benches recently donated to Clara Bolen Elementary in Tawas City seek to encourage supportive interactions among students.
Whether a child wants to show others that they’re available to listen if someone needs them, or if they themselves could use a friendly peer to chat with one day, the Buddy Benches will accomplish both. Donated by Up North Prevention and the Tawas Students Leading Students (SLS) Interact group, the benches were unveiled on Oct. 4. Among those attending the reveal outdoors on the school grounds, were staff, students, Tawas SLS Interact representatives, Tawas Area Schools (TAS) Superintendent John Klinger and Prevention Specialist Stephanie Lichota, of Catholic Human Services/Up North Prevention.
In a nod to TAS, each of the benches features the district’s bold red and bright white colors, complemented by a trimming of black. Across the top of one bench are the words, “The Only Way To Have A Friend Is To Be One;” while the other reads, “If You Think Someone Could Use A Friend, Be One.”
For some background as to how this contribution came about, Lichota began by sharing the mission of the Iosco Substance Free Coalition (ISFC), which is to collectively protect its community from substance misuse and its consequences.
Formed a few years ago, Lichota said that the coalition received special funding from a state prevention block grant to fund a prevention specialist in Iosco County, along with local liquor tax and state opioid response funds to carry the work of prevention forward in the county.