The purpose of the bench is to help children who find themselves alone or lonely to quickly find friends without having to approach a large group of children that may seem intimidating to them.
Many of us understand how, when we're feeling sad and lonely, it is difficult to find the courage to step out of our comfort zones and make friends. It is no different for our children. A buddy bench makes it possible for children to ask for help without saying anything at all.
It makes making friends easy and gives children the tool they need to find friends when otherwise they would not have the courage to do.
"You can find friends easily when you're lonely and you don't have any, like, anyone to play with at recess," one girl said on a video describing the bench.
One boy said that before the benches were installed, he saw people walking around alone. Now, "I [see] a lot more people with friends to play with."
Not only does a buddy bench raise the self-esteem of those who sit on it when they are invited to play, but also it is a valuable way to teach children how to look out for and serve one another.
Everyone at times can find themselves in a lonely place. Imagine how beautiful it would be if we as adults had a buddy bench to sit on during our times of need.
This story teaches us to look for those figurative buddy benches and reach out to those who frequent them.
My challenge to you, Reader, is to find someone who could use your help and help them through a simple act of kindness. A kind letter, a thoughtful text or a simple plate of cookies could make a world of difference for someone struggling with loneliness. We can all do much good with a single act of kindness and love.
And, if you are sitting on a figurative buddy bench, reach out your hand and try to make friends. There is a whole wide world filled with people who need your friendship. It will require courage to take the first step, but that one step could lead to a lifelong friend.
Let's follow in our children's footsteps and create a system where no one has to be lonely.