Girl Scout Troop 62658 recently completed a “Buddy Bench” at San Martin/Gwinn Elementary School.
The project was for the troop’s Bronze Award, the highest award that a fourth- or fifth-grader can earn. It is a community-based project where girls are encouraged to make a positive impact in their community while practicing leadership, organizational and salesmanship skills. This project is completely led by the girls.
A Buddy Bench is used in schools and playgrounds to promote friendship and inclusivity. It helps reduce the feelings of loneliness amongst children at schools all around the world. The main purpose of the bench is to provide a designated spot where a child who is feeling lonely, sad or in need of someone to play with can sit and wait for a friend. When there is someone sitting on the bench, other students are encouraged to approach the child and invite them to join in on a game, conversation or playtime.
The project started about a year ago, with the girls originally wanting to build bee homes or birdhouses near the new construction in Morgan Hill. The construction was soon shut down by developers. After that, a girl in the troop had friend problems at school and she brought the story up at a group meeting, which led to the idea of the Buddy Bench.
The troop reached out to San Martin/Gwinn and proposed the idea of a Buddy Bench to Cathy Moss, the assistant principal, and Alex Aasen, the head principal, in March. The troop set a goal of selling 1,500 boxes of cookies to raise enough funds to purchase the bench. Some of the troop’s girls met with the administration and gained approval.
The troop received the Buddy Bench in August and were able to deliver it to the kindergarten playground on Sept. 2. The girls also were able to create videos in English and Spanish for the TK and kindergarten students showing how to use the Buddy Bench.