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Group to host bus bench building event

May 22, 2019
By MELISSA BILL (news@breezenewspapers.com) , Lehigh Acres Citizen

A grassroots group working to make school bus stops safer is looking for some help.

Benches For Our Babes will host a bench building event on Saturday, June 15, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Mirror Lakes Golf in Lehigh Acres. Those interested in volunteering need to arrive at the event by 9 a.m. and ask to be directed to the maintenance facility at the golf course.

Presently the group is accepting donations, materials and businesses who want to sponsor.

"We need people to help build as well. Anyone who has a truck or trailer and individuals good with their hands. We have also had businesses sponsor a lunch or entertainment in the past. We try to keep it fun and for the kids, but due to the venue of this particular event, we are encouraging the kids be 8 year of age and older," Benches For Our Babes Lehigh Acres group organizer Jamie Tischner said.

According to Tischner, the group's goal is to make sure children in the community are safe while waiting for the school bus. They are in constant need for support in the form or coordinating, building benches, dropping off benches at stops, and donations.

"Benches For Our Babes has various groups spread out throughout Lee County. Each city has its own liaison, but all part of one group," Tischner explained. "I would like to eventually get another 501 c group involved with this cause and would stay on to help organize things."

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Tischner who is involved in various other groups revolving around conservation and community betterment was approached by one of the Benches for Our Babes founders to get involved.

"I have a 12-year-old student who is at a bus stop and fear for her safety sometimes. This area especially needs help and more people to get involved due to the lack of infrastructure. We really need donations at this time and to get the word out," Tischner.

According to Tischner, the issue of bus stop safety does not end with putting in these benches.

"Kids need to listen to their parents and take safety around the bus stops seriously. Drivers also need to be more aware. If a bench is there every day, the drivers tend to slow down. We are also looking at getting reflectors and maybe a flashing light held by an adult at stops," Tischner said.

Other issues that contribute to unsafe bus stops are poorly lit streets. The county is working with LCEC and FPL to repair lights that are down and place new street lights where there is need.

"They are working on it but it has been slow. That's going to be crucial part in making these areas safer for the kids," Tischner.

Lee County Sheriff's Office is helping the group to make these bus stops safe and speak with the kids about ways they can remain safe while waiting for their buses.

"Community Information Officer Kirk Hetrick has been great. We are working together with them and they are watching these stops for speeders. We have also had a few benches stolen already," Tischner said.

Tischner plans to coordinate additional events throughout the summer including a bike run and another bench building event. The groups is also looking into ways to get permanent cement benches in the future.

"We are always looking to hear from and connect with other organizations within the community. The main goal is to make our community better," Tischner said.

For more information or to inquiry about events, donations or helping to transport benches, message the group at www.facebook.com/benchesforbabeslehighacres/

 
 

 

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