Buddy Bench helps students make new friends Print
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017 -- 12:00 AM

IHM Buddy Bench
Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Monona eighth grader Jacqueline Ladik sits on the school’s Buddy Bench with her winning design painted on it. (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

MONONA -- Imagine you're a student on the playground during recess. Maybe you're new to school, having a bad day, or haven't had any luck making friends.

For kids that fit any of those descriptions at Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) School in Monona, they now have a way to make some new friends.

It's called the Buddy Bench.

From all solid appearances, it resembles any other park bench one might see, but this one is special. This one shows a school trying to make the day a little easier for everyone.

A 'simple idea'

"The Buddy Bench is a simple idea to eliminate loneliness and foster friendship on the playground, continuing to spread the message of inclusion and kindness," said IHM Principal Callie Meiller.

The "simple" idea is if a student has no one to talk with on the playground, they can sit on said bench and another student will come and talk with them. They could become forever friends or even just recess friends.

The bench was recently installed on the playground to coincide with National Bullying Prevention Month, which is in October.

Eighth grade designs

Eighth grade students came up with designs to paint and decorate the bench.

The elementary-age students voted on the design they liked the best.

Those students chose Jacqueline Ladik's bench drawing -- compete with clouds, a sun, and blue, purple, and green colors, which were later painted on the bench by the eighth grade students.

"I always liked the clouds and the sun and I think it's really friendly," said Ladik about her design ideas.

Each year, the new eighth grade class will come up with new designs for the bench, and it will be repainted every year to represent the class and its mission of responsibility and care for others.


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