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Building Bridges of Friendship: The Buddy Bench at Pleasant Grove Elementary School

In a heartwarming collaboration between Rose Rock Habitat for Humanity, the Pottawatomie County Sooner SUCCESS Coalition, and the Absentee Shawnee Housing Authority, Pleasant Grove Elementary School in Shawnee, Oklahoma, is now adorned with a special addition – a Buddy Bench. This bench, funded by the Absentee Shawnee Housing Authority, serves as a beacon of friendship, promoting inclusion and combating loneliness on the school’s playground.

How Does The Buddy Bench Work?

The concept is simple yet profound. If a child finds themselves sitting on the Buddy Bench, it signifies that they are actively seeking a friend to play with. It’s an invitation for others to approach and extend an invitation to join in the fun. On the flip side, if a student notices a classmate on the Buddy Bench, it’s an opportunity to be a friend and include them in the activities.

4 Reasons To Sit On The Buddy Bench

If you are new to the school: Starting at a new school can be daunting, and the Buddy Bench provides a friendly way for newcomers to find companionship.

If you want to make new friends: The Buddy Bench encourages students to step out of their comfort zones and forge new connections with their peers.

If your friends aren’t at school that day: Even the closest of friends may be absent at times. The Buddy Bench ensures that no child spends their recess feeling isolated.

If you want to play something different than what your friend is playing: Sometimes, interests diverge, and the Buddy Bench allows children to explore different activities and games with new friends.

Make Buddies Not Bullies

Bullying is an unfortunate reality in many schools. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a child is bullied every seven minutes. The Buddy Bench initiative aims to disrupt this cycle by fostering a culture of inclusion. By providing a designated space for students to seek out friends, it creates an environment where loneliness is replaced by companionship, and friendship becomes a powerful antidote to bullying.

A Community Coming Together

The Buddy Bench at Pleasant Grove Elementary School are more than just pieces of furniture; they are symbols of a community coming together to support its youngest members. Rose Rock Habitat for Humanity, the Pottawatomie County Sooner SUCCESS Coalition, the Absentee Shawnee Tribe, and the school itself have created a lasting legacy of friendship and inclusion.

In a world where connections are increasingly digital, the Buddy Bench at Pleasant Grove Elementary School stands as a testament to the enduring power of face-to-face friendship. This bench not only provides a physical space for students to connect but also teaches valuable lessons about empathy, kindness, and the importance of reaching out to others. As the children of Pleasant Grove Elementary School gather around this bench, they are not just sitting; they are building bridges of friendship that will last a lifetime.

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