Numbers continue to grow in a group formed to build benches for our children’s’ bus stops. The whole movement was first sparked after an 8-year-old girl was killed in a hit-and-run crash while she waited for her school bus. The accused driver was arrested last week, but the group’s mission has not changed.
Benches For Our Babes began in Cape Coral after the death of Layla Aiken. New chapters have grown in Lee County in Lehigh Acres and now North Fort Myers.
The group gathered in North Fort Myers Saturday morning for a bench build with community members more determined, since 19-year-old Logan Hetherington was accused of leaving the scene of the crash that killed Layla.
“I started crying,” group member Tabatha Hoffner said. “It was a sense of relief.”
Hoffner comes out almost every Saturday to help the continued effort to make school bus stops safer in the surrounding communities.
“The kids’ safety is the most important thing,” Hoffner said. “We started out with just maybe 20 of us at the first meeting and now there’s over 2,000.”
Regardless of recent events, they say they’re doing what they can to keep Layla’s memory alive.
“I‘m glad they finally got the person that did it, but that’s not going to bring that little girl back,” Nancy Walters said.
Benches For Our Babes members said they plan to keep working until every bus stop is safe.
“We definitely need the lighting and the seating … to protect them,” Hoffner said.