Buddy Benches Installed at Bainbridge Elementary
October 28, 2022- Two newly installed “Buddy Benches” on the playground at Bainbridge Elementary School aim to promote student connections. The “Buddy Benches” are for students wishing to find a friend to play with while on the playground.
The “Buddy Bench” program is a national initiative that aims to spread kindness by fostering friendships and eliminating loneliness on the playground. Through the effort, students learned about the benefits of recycling and environmental concerns while helping them understand the importance of kindness and friendliness in helping shy and lonely students become engaged with friends on the playground. To receive a six-foot “Buddy Bench,” the school needed to collect 200 pounds of bottle caps plus $250.
In partnership with the Order of the Eastern Star from the Masonic Village, the students from Bainbridge Elementary began collecting bottle caps in October 2020. The bottle cap collection concluded at the start of the 2022-2023 school year. A total of 660 pounds was collected, helping the school to receive two buddy benches and the Masonic Village Children’s Home to receive one.
Enhancing the “Buddy Bench” campaign, the students read the book Inspire The World: A Kid’s Journey to Making A Difference as part of a classroom activity. The book tells the story of 8-year-old Sammie Vance and her mission to get a buddy bench for her school.
Representatives from the Eastern Order who were instrumental in the campaign were project initiator Sonja Alcon, Donna Williams, Marjory and Donald Woodburn, Mark Eyer, Steve Musser, Steve Enck, Cathy Cook, and Kathy Bashista, Rusty Ryan, and David Alcon. Reps from the Eastern Order also funded and transported the caps to Evansville, IN, and brought the benches back to Bainbridge.