The first Buddy Bench has been installed at McKinley Elementary School.

Buddy benches are designed to be a place where children who are feeling alone or left out can sit, and other students or adults can join them for talk or invite them to join in games or play.

They are a result of the combined efforts of Steven Cozza’s nonprofit “Race for Kids” and the metal shop program at Petaluma High School.

Cozza is raising funds to pay for the benches and Dan Sunia’s metal technology students are building them at a reduced cost.

Cozza, a petaluma Realtor, hopes to place the benches in all Petaluma schools, and has donated $500 from each of his property transactions to pay for the first six benches himself.

The first of the Buddy benches was installed at McKinley last week.