We are so excited to SHARE with you a special project at San Elijo Elementary School (SEES) that was brought to life by Brownie Troop 2160.
The Buddy Bench was installed near the main playground over holiday break and serves as a beacon of inclusion and kindness both on the playground and beyond.
The idea behind the Buddy Bench is simple – to eliminate loneliness and foster friendship on the playground. Students are encouraged to sit down at the Buddy Bench when they are feeling lonely or just need someone to play with. Maybe your best friend is home sick and you have nothing to do at recess. Or maybe you’re new to the school. When you sit at the Buddy Bench, other students will come and invite you to play with them.
If students see someone sitting on the bench, they are encouraged to be a buddy to them. They can do this by asking them to play, to talk, or go for a walk. If two people are sitting on the Buddy Bench, they can play together.
The concept of the Buddy Bench was first brought to the U.S. in 2013 by a boy named Christian at Roundtown Elementary School. It was one of those special stories that just took off and was picked up by the media. Since that time, it has grown into quite a movement. There are now Buddy Benches all over the United States and around the world. And, thanks to the girls in Troop 2160, there is now a Buddy Bench at SEES!
The Troop Leader Wendy Lopaty and Assistant Leader Jeannine Melville are so proud of the girls and their dedication to the project. Together they worked to raise the funds needed to purchase and install the bench. Part of their fundraising efforts included spending time in front of Albertsons together where they shared their project with community members and asked for their support. People were excited and touched by the idea. Those who donated $5 or more received a special keychain made by the girls. In addition, they met with Vice Principal Jimmy Miringoff to pick the perfect location for the bench.
The girls also made a video to explain the Buddy Bench, which was shared with the entire school community prior to Friday Flag Salute, when the bench was officially presented. The Principal Mrs. Kalicki has been so supportive of this project and the school has created a pledge and a process for implementing this new community asset to ensure it becomes a positive part of SEES culture.
As students return to school and start the new year, they will have a new opportunity to participate in inclusion and kindness. The Buddy Bench will be a safe place to make new friends in the new year!
Nice work Troop 2160! Thanks for making our community so special!