SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — New Tech High students and Habitat For Humanity are trying to make local playgrounds a bit more friendly in Sioux Falls. They’re delivering “buddy benches” to a handful of schools around town. 

‘Be someone’s reason to smile.’ That’s what’s written on St. Lambert’s new buddy bench, a gift from New Tech High students. Fifth-grader Margaret Althoff says the bench will be a hit on the playground. 

“I think it will be better with friends because people will now have people to play with. I just think it’s such a great idea,” Althoff said. 

Althoff is part of a group at St. Lambert who’ve wanted a buddy bench for a while. 

“And I was so excited because I just really wanted this to happen,” Althoff said. 

New Tech sophomore Jonathan Diaz helped put the pieces together. 

“‘Be someone’s reason to smile’ because when you’re on the bench, most of the time you’re not having a good day or you’re just not really finding anybody to have fun and laugh with and smile with. The whole point of the bench is to remind people, hey, there’s still some people who don’t have their best friends, who don’t have really close people to have fun with,” Diaz said. 

St. Lambert Elementary is actually getting a new playground this summer. Once that’s in, the buddy bench will go nearby.

Diaz says being able to deliver the benches in person is a lot of fun and he hopes they make a difference.

“Most of the time when we’re working on projects we don’t really get to see the effects of what we do all the time. So making this bench and being able to see all these kids clapping and happy that they have a buddy bench. It really gives you those fuzzy feelings,” Diaz said.