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New Buddy Bench Helps Build Friendships

two boys near playground  boys go to playground

A bright orange bench is the newest addition to the playground at Windermere Boulevard Elementary and it helps build friendships. The orange bench is called a Buddy Bench and it's got a simple concept which is to promote inclusion.

If you are sitting on the bench, you are looking for a friend. If you are not sitting on the bench, you ask the kids on the buddy bench to play. When someone asks you to play, join them, and always remember to glance over at the Buddy Bench to invite new friends to join in on the fun.

The bench was donated to the school through Steven's Spirit Of Giving, a non-profit organization created by the family of Steven A. Daniels (ACHS ‘90). Gail Daniels, president of Steven's Spirit Of Giving Inc. and Steven’s mother, said the idea to donate the bench is really in keeping with the intent of the organization which is to spread kindness and goodwill.

"Teaching those things early on is good," she said and the Buddy Bench helps do that.

The non-profit held a fundraiser in 2019 to raise money for the bench, but due to the pandemic, it was not installed until recently. The organization holds many fundraising activities to help those in need and produces a quarterly newsletter highlighting volunteerism and the goodness of others. The group's activities and donations are inspired by the many acts of kindness that Steven did throughout his life.    

At Windermere, the bench is another tool that can be used to teach students how to include others, show empathy and to build friendships.

"The buddy bench not only supports our character education program but also helps to build friendships. The students are learning what it truly means to be a buddy!" said Windermere Boulevard Principal Julie Flanagan.