DELAWARE COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) — Students at a Delaware County school now have a special place to go when they are feeling lonely or sad — or if they just need a friend.
“If you’re a child in elementary school, and you don’t have anybody to play with, if you sit on the bench, other kids will come up and invite you to join them,” said Chichester School District Superintendent Dr. Kathy Sherman.
The Buddy Bench, at Hill Top Elementary, was built by industrial arts students at Chichester High School. The bench was then adorned with colorful tiles, warm, welcoming thoughts and hundreds of Hill Top’s fingerprints – from the staff, faculty, and students.
Why? To never make a student feel alone. One of the messages on the bench reads, “When you feel alone know that we’re here.”
“Each class really talked about the theme of the bench and how it would work in the school for everyone,” said Sherman.
Fourth-grade students Ryan, Brian, and Dylan had a hand in the Buddy Bench and they felt the heart behind it.
“I felt excited because I know some kids get left out at recess, and then they bring those feelings in the classroom and they don’t get work done because they are sad about it and thinking about it,” said one of the boys. “So this is a great way for kids to be able to get their work done and also to have some friends.”
“From kindergarten all the way up to the fourth grade, they understand the meaning behind it. It is to make sure that our students feel like they are part of our community,” said Hill Top Elementary School Principal Christine Matijasich. “They are all included no matter what their disability may be, or, you know, what their background or gender, races, that they are all included.”
“There’s really something about this bench that just sparks an idea that is really cool. We can use this everywhere,” said fourth grader Ryan.
Three more benches are coming soon to the other three elementary schools in that district. At the moment they are in the process of being decorated by those schools, and will soon be ready for recess.