‘Buddy Benches’ making schools friendlier

Post date: Feb 23, 2020 7:35:34 AM

by: Kent Pierce

Posted: Apr 9, 2018 / 12:58 PM EDT / Updated: Apr 9, 2018 / 12:58 PM EDT


Kids in eastern Connecticut are getting some help making school a friendlier place. Five more “Buddy Benches” are now in schools and other facilities as of Monday morning. So if you are having a bad day, or need a friend, then have a seat.

“They’re for to help kids to include others, like to get somebody to stop bullying,” explained Stanton School 4th grader Marcus Cracia.

John B. Stanton Elementary School in Norwich just got a third one of the Buddy Benches.

“It’s about promoting kindness, it’s about introducing and making friends,” said “Bully Busters” organizer Debbie Kievits. “If the child is having a rough day, they can sit on that bench and welcome someone and have a kind word.”

Originally they were called “Bully Buster Benches,” but organizer Debbie Kievits says “Buddy Benches” is more accurate for what they’re trying to do. Local groups and businesses pay for them.

The ones delivered today were donated by Eastern Savings bank, and they’re not just going in schools, but also health care facilities like United Community and Family Services.

“Just bringing the benches in this morning to this area, the kids eyes light up,” said UCFS’s Pam Kinder. “They love the color, they love the uniqueness of them.”

Each is unique, painted in a different style with different messages.

“When you are feeling down, you can look and you can be like, ‘Stanton Sharks make good friends,’ or ‘Make new friends,’ and you can embrace and follow those and you can prevent bullies,” said Stanton 4th Grader Makayla Hughes, reading some of the phrases painted on the benches.

Best of all, it seems to be working.

“I was stopped the other day in the supermarket and they said, ‘Yeah, my son sits on that bench and met someone and got along with someone,’ and that’s the feedback we wanted,” Kievits said.

Kievits said that, this month, they will deliver their 300th bench to places where kids hang out in the greater Norwich area.

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