Buddy Bench Helps Students Make New Friends at Jones Lane Elementary School (PHOTOS & VIDEO)

There is a new addition at the Jones Lane Elementary School playground, and it’s helping students look out for each other and make new friends. MyMCMedia’s Sonya Burke reports.

You may have heard of the Buddy Bench. They are showing up on playgrounds across the country and now there is one at Jones Lane Elementary School. The idea for the bench came from two students, Jack Golub, a fourth grader, and Ryan Golub, a first grader. The brothers saw a video about the Buddy Bench and thought it would be a great addition to their school’s playground to encourage new friendships at recess.

“It’s a bench that that if someone doesn’t have someone to play with they can sit on the bench and when people run pass they can tell them that they can play with them so that they can make new friends,” explained Ryan.

The goal of the Buddy Bench is quite simple, to encourage new friendships and to promote kindness. The bench was paid for by the school’s PTA and it includes a message: “Make a friend, be a friend.”

“We thought it would be good to put on the sign,” said Jack.

There are about 480 students at Jones Lane Elementary School, according to the school’s counselor, Kristen Stevens, who said that she will be spending the next few weeks talking to the students about the bench and why it is so important. She noted that there is another adjacent bench for kids who just want to hang out and relax or read during recess.

“The purpose of the Buddy Bench is for someone who may not have someone to play with at recess,” Stevens said. “The other students who are out at recess will then see that a student is sitting on the bench and then invite them to play.”

She said the bench is important because a student who may not have someone to play with at recess may feel sad or embarrassed.

“This gives them an outlet,” Stevens said, and it also helps students become more socially aware of others.

Jack and Ryan said the most popular activity at recess is soccer or just running around the playground. They said when they see someone sitting on the bench they will be sure to ask them to play.

Principal Carole Sample said when the boys wrote her letter about their idea for the bench she had never heard of it before. She then did some research and realized “how wonderful an idea it is.”

The Buddy Bench was unveiled on Feb. 3 at two school assemblies on the school’s playground. The school’s principal, counselor and Jack and Ryan told students about the Buddy Bench and what role it would play at recess. The brothers also read a poem about friendship. The Buddy Bench is painted bright blue, includes a message promoting friendship, and it is located under a tree near the school building.

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Sonya Burke

About Sonya Burke

Sonya Burke is the Multimedia Manager at Montgomery Community Media (MCM). You can email story ideas at sburke@mymcmedia.org or reach her on Twitter @SonyaNBurke.

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