The Buddy Bench Movement

The Buddy Benches Movement is one that is being adopted by many schools and organizations around the world. The Green Club of Will L. Lee Elementary School of Richmond, MI primarily focuses on bringing environmental awareness to the school and community, but they recently decided to take the initiative and join this movement as well.  

Kathi Miller – a retired teacher at Will L. Lee Elementary – led the students of The Green Club in their own efforts with this project. They collected all sorts of caps – bottle, medicinal, laundry soap, etc. – and worked together during their after school meetings to clean them up and make sure they were ready to be recycled and turned into benches. Ross Medical students at the Canton campus teamed up with the Green Club and successfully helped them reach their goal of 4,000 lbs of caps. They were then able to go down to Indiana and get two benches made for the school. 

What is a Buddy Bench?

Buddy Benches are also called Friendship Benches and the purpose of them is to eradicate loneliness and encourage students to make new friends on the playground. They are used not only in schools but in many organizations as well. In the workplace they are typically referred to as Friendship Benches and they are used to bridge the gap between co-workers and enable new friendships to be made. In a school setting, the benches are more often referred to as Buddy Benches. If a student is feeling lonely, they can go sit down on the bench and it will be used as a signal to other students that the he/she wants someone to talk to. The Buddy Bench can be utilized by kids who are new to the school, kids whose friends are gone from school that day, or kids who are lonely and are just looking to make some new friends. The purpose of the movement is to foster new relationships and enable them to develop.

This project not only united the students of Will L. Lee Elementary, but it also gave them a sense of purpose. 

“The kids really wanted a project and with their combined efforts, they made it happen,” Kathi says. “The students invoked so much passion and hard work into this year-long school project and they are so excited to finally be able to use these benches in the upcoming school year.”

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