Buddy Benches Make Their Way to Elementary Schools

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Photo courtesy of coveringkaty.com

Photo courtesy of coveringkaty.com

Can a bench really help students who are feeling lonely? A new concept installing buddy benches in elementary schools will, according to students, prevent loneliness among students.

Buddy Benches are a new idea to help prevent bullying. The idea of the bench is to create a space where students feeling lonely or sad can sit and catch the other students’ attention, signaling they need someone to play with. The students can then reach out to the students on the bench and invite them to play and join their group.

Jaxton Winrow is a sixth-grader at Grant Elementary, and he wanted to create a club for lonely students, but discovered the idea of a Buddy Bench online instead.
“I don’t want everyone to be alone because I don’t want them to feel bored and not do anything at recess all the time and have no friends. Now, if people get kicked out of a group or club, they can sit on the bench and the other people who get kicked out of a group can sit there, too, so they can become new friends,” said Winrow to KSL.

The bench was bought from Lowe’s after the school was given a discount. Winrow and his Buddy Bench committee then designed the bench and painted it blue. They invited students to sign posters as a pledge that they would be friends to those sitting on the bench.

The idea of getting Buddy Benches has reached other schools in Utah as well.
7-year-old Tanner Blades from Sage Creek elementary school in Springville told his mother that he did not play with anyone at recess, but just sat waiting for the bell to ring. This made Blades’ older sister, Katie Blades, react. She decided to make a funding page to raise money for buddy benches to help students like her brother.

The mother of Katie and Tanner shared Katie’s funding initiative on Facebook, and that made an old friend of hers contacting her offering his time and material for the project. Now, two Buddy Benches are on their way to Sage Creek elementary school. “The bench is just an easier way to make friends,” said friend Mike Petersen to KSL.

Katie Blades has raised more than $1,500 on her funding page, which is almost tripling her initial donation goal. To KSL she said, “Now, we can put more benches in more schools.”

Students at all ages have experienced loneliness. Should the Buddy Bench concept be expanded to reach high school and college students as well? Does Snow College need a Buddy Bench?

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