Habitat for Humanity-Steele Waseca Area and the Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Young Professionals are teaming up this week to build Buddy Benches to be placed at Owatonna's elementary schools. The public is invited to assist with the project.

In their weekly email newsletter, the Owatonna Chamber reports eight benches will be constructed on Thursday October 12 at the Owatonna Area Business Development Center with wood donated by Geneva Lumber Company. Volunteers interested in helping can register with the Owatonna Chamber office and must be at least 18 years old, per Habitat for Humanity rules.

The newsletter states, "The buddy bench is an idea to eliminate loneliness and foster friendship on the playground. The buddy bench is a signal, that if a child is sitting on it alone, it is a signal to other kids to ask him or her to play...October is Anti-Bullying Month and this project will be a great reinforcement. After the benches are created, Habitat for Humanity will go into the schools and have kids place hand prints on them as well as present them to the school."