Richards School Gets a “Buddy Bench”

     Richards School Board Member, Ricky Vonallmen was surprised when he heard that he had won an outside park bench at the annual Missouri School Boards Association Conference held Oct. 5-8, 2017.  The beauty of the bench was that on the back panel it had the words, “Buddy Bench”!  This bench will be beneficial for the children on the school’s playground so that they will not feel so lonely when they need a friend. The idea behind the “Buddy Bench” is a simple one to eliminate loneliness and foster friendship on the playground. When a child feels the need for a buddy, they simply go set on the bench and students will come to their aid. 

    The concept began in the spring of 2013, when Christian Bucks was in first grade, there was a possibility that his family was going to move to Germany. When they were looking at a website for a school overseas, Christian saw picture of a special bench on the playground. He asked about it and liked what he heard. He thought it would be a really great thing to have on the playground at his current school, Roundtown Elementary in York, Pa.  He knew that there were some kids who felt lonely at recess and he thought this would put an end to that! He told his teacher and his principal about it and they thought it was a great idea! Since it was the end of the school year, the principal said he would look into it over the summer and they would get it in place in the fall.

    In the end, Christian didn’t move to Germany, so he was able to stay at Roundtown.  Sure enough, his principal researched it and let Christian help pick out the bench in the fall! After the buddy bench arrived, Christian gave a presentation to the school board to explain it. Before it was placed on the playground, Christian spoke in front of his whole school at a community morning meeting to explain the buddy bench and show a video about it that he made with his principal. The kids loved it and were very excited for the bench to be placed on the playground!

    The local newspaper in Christian Bucks town did a story on the buddy bench and it caught the attention of the Huffington Post.  From there it was picked up by the NBC Today Show and other media outlets. Christian has heard from students and adults across the country who love this idea and want to do the same thing at their schools! He is so excited by this and is eager to see the buddy bench movement spread. He is happy to help spread the word in any way that he can!

    The buddy bench was a donation from a drawing provided by Champlin Tire Recycling, Inc. of Condcordia, KS.