Wednesday, September 23, 2020


Home News Maxwell Elementary gets buddy bench from classified employees

Maxwell Elementary gets buddy bench from classified employees

Submitted Photo
Submitted Photo

When Sherri Miller, a staff member at Maxwell Elementary School, first stumbled upon an article about a “buddy bench” on Facebook, she knew it was something that could benefit potentially benefit the children she often watches over on yard duty.
A simple idea, a Buddy Bench is a tool to combat loneliness and foster friendship on the playground: It’s a designated seating area for kids who are feeling lonely or are without a playmate.
“I thought it was great, because I have a lot of kids that will follow me around when I’m on yard duty,” Miller said. “I want them to go socialize and be active with other students. Some kids would say that they don’t have a friend to go hang out with. Now, I can just tell them to sit on the buddy bench and a friend will come to them!”
It’s that simple: In need of a friend? All a student has to do is plop down on the Buddy Bench. At Maxwell Elementary, it’s likely that they won’t be there for long.
“If kids see someone on it, they are quick to run over and ask them to play. The kids have been good about it,” Miller said. “You can hear them screaming when someone is sitting on it, ‘Someone is on the buddy bench!’”
The Buddy Bench made its way to Maxwell thanks to the classified employees at Maxwell Elementary. After she learned of the idea for the bench, Miller brought the idea before a meeting of Maxwell’s California School Employees Association (CSEA) members.
“I brought it to the CSEA meeting, and I asked other classified employees what they thought. The said it was a good idea,” Miller said.
Miller added that Chandra Saucedo had the idea for the classified employees to pay for the buddy bench, and CSEA to donate the materials. Then Kristie Pearson brought up the idea of having a group of high schoolers build it for a project instead.
“We asked them to do it, and they did. It was built by high school students with scrap material. Bonnie Piper purchased the paints we needed, and painted the bench over the summer – it didn’t cost us anything,” Miller said.
Maxwell Elementary unveiled the bench during the first day of school this year. During announcements that day, Miller explained to the elementary students that this was no ordinary bench.
“I told them that this wasn’t just a bench to sit on, but a bench that helps you make new friends,” Miller said, adding it has been used frequently this year. “It’s probably used every other day, if not daily – There are a few kids who may not yet have the skills to introduce themselves to play, and this bench takes away them having to do that.”

Brian Pearson
Brian Pearson
Brian Pearson is the former Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects included reporting local government and the sports page.

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