When second-grader Christian Bucks noticed that some of his friends didn't have anyone to play with on the playground at Roundtown Elementary School in York, Pa., he decided to take action to help foster friendships at his school, setting forth to acquire a buddy bench.
The way the buddy bench works is if students feel lonely on the playground without anything to do, they can go to the buddy bench, and another student will come to the bench and ask if they want to play or talk.
If two people are sitting at the bench, they could ask each other if they want to play, Christian said.
He described the buddy bench as having a purpose to “grow our dream circle of friends.”
Bucks first learned of the buddy bench concept when his father, Justin Bucks, began talking with his family about the possibility of moving temporarily to one of his employer's international companies, Alyson Bucks, Christian's mother, said.
During their research, they showed their children a few international schools, and a buddy bench at a school in Germany caught Christian's attention.
“He thought this was a great way to help other kids who might feel lonely or left out from time to time,” Alyson Bucks said.
Christian explained that he first brought the idea to Principal Matthew Miller at the end of the last school year.
“Mr. Miller checked around and found a bench that would work for our school. Before he ordered the bench, he showed me the colors and I got to pick the style and color of the bench. I was the first person that got to sit on the bench when it arrived at Roundtown,” Christian said.
“We encouraged and supported him every step of the way,” Alyson Bucks said, “but it was the Roundtown faculty and staff who brought the idea to fruition. We are so thankful for their support in embracing this idea.”
Principal Miller described Christian as a student who loves making friends and making sure others have friends.
Christian hopes that students who are playing at recess will go to the buddy bench and include the children who are sitting there to play or talk with them.
“We show we care about others when we ask others to play,” he said. “I also hope that new friendships will be made because of the buddy bench.”