Vidor Independent School District elementary school students are getting along better than ever this school year with the help of “Buddy Benches”.
A “Buddy Bench” is a place where students, who need a friend, can sit and not be alone.
Oak Forest Elementary student Gracie Stephenson said the bench helped her make friends on the playground.
“I didn't have friends,” Stephenson said. “Then I went to see if anyone was on the buddy bench. I found this girl named Ariel.”
The bench did more than take the load off of the fourth graders feet.
“So you don't have no one to play with, you're never lonely, always feel happy and never sad,” Stephenson said.
Her classmate, Lane Mathues, was also looking to add another Pirate to his playground posse earlier this school year.
“One day we were just lonely, me and my other friend. And we wanted to get a new friend so we checked on the buddy bench and he was just sitting there," Mathues.said.
He met a boy named Luke. Now they play football, tag and other games every day.
“Probably because he's nice and sweet,” Mathues said.
Once those friendships are forged, students write their names on the “Buddy Board”.
These benches were either bought by parents or donated by Leadership Southeast Texas and don’t only serve as a spot to make new friends.
“One thing we do is Rock, Paper, Scissors,” teacher Janet Hagler said. “Maybe they are arguing over a swing or something their arguing with a friend about. They can come sit on the bench and talk about it. Work it out.”
Stephenson said the benches have taught her life lessons.
“It's special that other people and me can find another friend instead of the same friends every day,” Stephenson said.
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