The Buddy Bench, a dedicated place at elementary school playgrounds where a student can sit if feeling lonely or bullied, has generated national attention in recent years and has even been the subject of a TED Talk.
About five years ago, the Buddy Bench concept originated with a boy named Christian Bucks who was reviewing brochures about potential new schools in Germany with his mother. They were preparing to move there for his father’s new job. He would be the new kid. He was just in first grade, but he understood what feeling lonely on a playground looks like. He’d seen it at his own elementary school in York, Pa.
However, one German school he and his mom looked at had a solution for this. It was called the Buddy Bench, and if a child was sitting on it alone, it was a signal to the other kids to ask him or her to play. Although Christian’s family did not end up moving to Germany, the boy is credited with introducing Buddy Benches to the United States. He brought the idea to his principal, Matthew Miller, and the two immediately set out to install a Buddy Bench in his school, Roundtown Elementary. Their project was covered by the local newspaper and went viral.
Eighth-grader Becca Lomas decided to extend the Buddy Bench ideology as part of her bat mitzah by raising funds so benches can be in the Middle School – and Austin Road too! Becca is an inspiring example of the values we uphold at Austin Road and our community.