The world can never have too many Buddy Benches — friendship-igniting tools that can be found on school playgrounds throughout southeast Michigan.
Celebrating 10 years of erasing loneliness on elementary school playgrounds, Buddy Benches were introduced to the United States in 2013 by Pennsylvania second-grader Christian Bucks, who got the idea while he and his family were researching international schools prior to a move to Germany.
The concept of the Buddy Benches is simple but powerful: Students who are new to a school — or simply looking to meet new friends — can sit on one of their school’s Buddy Benches, signaling to classmates that the student is searching for someone to play with or talk to.
Local schools offer Buddy Benches
Multiple Buddy Benches are located on Canton’s Tonda Elementary School playground.
All brightly decorated by students, one bears the phrase: “Be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”
Another is decorated with sports equipment and a Timberwolf — Tonda’s mascot.
Several others elementary schools throughout southeast Michigan have launched the Buddy Bench program — a genius plan especially in an era when reports of bullying sometimes work their way into the headlines.
Bucks said he noticed during his time at Roundtown Elementary School in York, Pennsylvania that some kids didn’t have anyone to play with during recess.
Idea spread like wildfire
Once word spread of the implementation of the Buddy Bench program in York, the idea quickly spread and there are now Buddy Benches strategically placed on school playgrounds in at least 32 states across the country.
“(Christian) thought this was a great way to help other kids who might feel lonely or left out from time to time,” his mother Alyson Bucks said in 2013.
Buddy Benches can be created organically using available supplies and imagination — or they can be pre-ordered from companies who specialize in the manufacturing of the much-needed friendship tools.
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