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Parents on mission to make safer, more attractive bus stops in Lehigh Acres

Posted at 12:20 PM, Aug 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-22 05:28:10-04

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. — School bus stops are getting a major face lift.

A few dedicated parents are coming together to help make the stops not only more attractive, but also more safe for students. And this effort comes after two students were hit by a car just this week. Luckily, they are out of the hospital now.

One group is making a difference one bus stop at a time and beauty is being redefined with bus stop benches.

A passion project organized by parents to not only beautify Lehigh, but also make it safer for its students.

“Everything is all about the safety of the children- it always has been and always will be," says James Branham, CEO of Shield4Kids. "It should be everyone’s number one priority.”

It comes at a time where accidents have become recurrent. In 2019, Layla Aiken — an 8-year-old Cape Coral girl — was hit and killed at her bus stop. Since that fatal tragedy, organizations continue to come together to try to make school bus stop areas safer.

Just this week, two teenagers were hit by a car in Lee County while waiting for their school bus.

"It shouldn’t take a tragedy like that to get the community together to help protect our children," said Branham. "Our children are our future and we should do everything as an adult, not just a parent, but as an adult to protect our future.”

Through Shield4Kids supplies like paint, lights, reflectors, and pinwheels are being added at bus stops. And the reception so far has been pretty wide spread.

"Getting the community involved for the safety of everybody’s child," said Branham. "It’s not just about one child or his child or your child, it’s about all children.”

Making the work they’re doing that more meaningful.

"It’s unity," says Branham. "Let’s help your neighbor. You see something that’s not right that you can help with- help. You shouldn’t have to be asked. It’s just, ‘Hey- let me do this really quick.’ Five minutes out of your time can make a big difference to somebody’s life and, in some cases, save their lives.”

The contest is free to join, but in the long run it’s not really a meter of who wins. You can learn more about Shield4Kids and the bench painting when you head to their Facebook page.