Recess is supposed to be fun; a chance to play and connect with friends. But what about the kids who feel left out? How can they let other kids, who may be feeling lonely too, know that they’d like to play? One second grader, Christian Bucks from York, Pennsylvania, came up with an innovative solution: the Buddy Bench.
The idea is beautifully simple. If you’re lonely or want to find someone to play with, you go sit on the Buddy Bench. Other kids who are looking for someone to talk to or play with also go to the bench and voilà, you’re alone no more.
Inspired by a similar project he saw in Germany, Christian proposed the idea of a Buddy Bench to his school principal, who arranged for the bench to be installed. The rest is viral, feel-good history. The Buddy Bench has been featured on dozens of platforms including the Huffington Post, and the Today Show.
I think there’s a part of us all that can relate to the feeling of playground loneliness and it’s inspiring that such a simple idea could bring people together. But Christian points out that this is not a bench for just hanging out or sitting. “It has a purpose,” he says, “to help grow our dream circle of friends.”