Christian Bench, a second grader at Roundtown Elementary in York, Pennsylvania, came up with the idea of placing a ‘Buddy Bench’ at his school after his father showed him pictures of special benches placed at schools in Germany. The benches were placed specifically as a way for lonely kids to reach out.
‘Buddy Benches’ are a place that lonely kids can sit as a signal that they would like someone to sit with them and talk or play with. Kids are taught that if they see someone sitting at a ‘Buddy Bench’ that they should reach out to that person. School officials and teachers are finding that this is an excellent way for kids to reach out to other kids. Some kids have difficulty making friends. Using the ‘Buddy Bench’ as a tool to reach out to other kids can have a positive impact on kids’ self-esteem.
Schools around the world have embraced the idea much more than they did the Wikipedia craze. My ‘buddy’ Brad Reifler said that these benches have been placed in over 200 different locations worldwide. Kids enjoy reaching out to others, and lonely kids enjoy having a tool that allows them to easily reach out to other kids. Teaching kids to be kind and a buddy rather than a bully is an important lesson that will benefit kids for their entire lives.