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2nd-grader solves playground loneliness with a 'buddy bench' to create 'dream circle of friends'

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 4 2013 1:20 p.m. MST

The York Daily Record captured Christian Bucks on his school's "buddy bench" along with his parents, Alyson and Justin Bucks.

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To a second-grader, recess time and the playground are the world — and just as the world can be an intimidating place for adults, Christian Bucks realized the playground can be too. That's why he's worked with his elementary school principal in York, Pa., to bring a "buddy bench" to Roundtown Elementary School.

"He thought this was a great way to help other kids who might feel lonely or left out from time to time," Alyson Bucks told the York Daily Record.

The bench is meant to be a place where students can come and sit if feeling lonely while outside. The hope is other students will recognize who is at the bench and ask them to play or simply talk to them.

"If two people are sitting at the bench, they could ask each other if they want to play," Christian told his peers in a video produced by the York Daily Record. "The bench is not for hanging out or just sitting. It has a purpose to help grow our dream circle of friends."

This is not the first time a "buddy bench" has been placed on a school's playground. Christian said he got the idea after seeing one at a school in Germany. This past March, two benches were added to schools in the United Kingdom after coordinating with the Where Next Association.

Just a few months ago, a school in Singapore also tweeted a picture of its new "buddy bench."

Others who have not heard of a "buddy bench" have turned to social media to express their excitement. One prominent blogger Glennon Doyle Melton posted to the followers of her blog (whom she calls "monkees"), stating the importance of this idea.

"You guys, I cannot handle how brilliant this is. We can NOT stop until there's a buddy bench on every playground. Lets do it — who wants to spearhead this effort in 2013 with the monkees behind them? So serious. I'll help."

Commenters also shared how they were already beginning the process of adding a "buddy bench" to their kids' schools.

"I sent this to my son's principle this morning and handed her a gift card for the paint. Told her that I would help in ANYWAY I could to get this going," Dawn Pelej wrote on Facebook.

Christian is excited to join others who have adopted the bench idea and make a difference at schools.

"We show we care about others when we ask others to play," Christian told the York Daily Record. "I also hope that new friendships will be made because of the 'buddy bench.’ ”

Email: spetersen@deseretnews.com

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