The Short of It
Thanks to one 10-year-old boy, kids don't have to feel alone at recess anymore.
When Christian Bucks' family was toying with a move to Germany back in the spring of 2013, the then-first-grader's mom showed him a bunch of brochures for potential new schools. In one of them, Christian saw a picture of a special bench on the school playground. It was called a "Buddy Bench," and it was a place for a lonely boy or girl to sit on during recess to signal to the other kids to ask him or her to play.
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Christian loved the idea. So, when his family ended up staying stateside, he decided to bring a Buddy Bench to his own elementary school in York, Penn.
"I didn't like to see kids lonely at recess when everyone is just playing with their friends," he told the Washington Post.
Christian took the idea to his principal, and the two immediately got to work installing the special bench at Roundtown Elementary. Today, just three years later, an estimated 2,000 schools all over the U.S. have Buddy Benches, and Christian travels all over the country to help with their unveilings!
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A few weeks ago, two Buddy Benches were placed at a new elementary school in Saskatoon, Canada.
"It really helps build a positive school climate," said school principal Shane Armstrong. "If kids aren't sure what to do or what their options are, they can go hang out there. ... [Then] other kids can go invite that kid to join them in whatever they are doing."
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Does your kid's school have a Buddy Bench? If not, it needs one. For a kid with no one to play with, the school playground can be a scary place. Making new friends is hard. And it's awful for a kid to feel left out. The benches give a safe place to sit and an easy way to communicate volumes without ever having to find the courage to say a word.
"Amazing things happen when you share your hopes and dreams," Christian says at the end of every one of his unveiling speeches. "You may end up helping more people than you can ever imagine."
If you're interested in helping kids at your local school, the Buddy Bench website tells how you can bring one to your area.