There’s a new place for students to sit at the South Ridge Elementary playground. But this isn’t just a regular bench—it’s a Friendship Bench. Karen Moses’ fourth grade class made the bench as a way to support other students.
Every person knows what it’s like to be sad or feel left out. Now when a student wants someone to talk to or play with, they can go sit on the Friendship Bench. Other students and staff understand the signal; they can go to the bench to become a friend. By providing a place for students to go when they are lonely or dealing with issues—big or small—the Friendship Bench helps encourage friendships, support, and kindness.
The Friendship Bench was made and donated by parents Alex and Sarah Peru and their family. They had a plaque made to designate it as a Friendship Bench. And the students had a fun time putting paint on their hands to add colorful handprints to the bench.
Moses said, “I’m overwhelmed with the generosity of the family that made this for us! It turned out so beautiful!”
The first Friendship Bench was designed in 2012 by Acacia Woodley, a fifth grader in Florida. Woodley was born without complete arms and had experienced feeling different. But instead of approaching other students with anti-bullying ideas, she decided to be pro-friendship. She and her family created the first Friendship Bench at her school in Florida, and since then, the idea has spread to schools throughout the U. S. and Canada.
Moses hopes the new Friendship Bench will inspire students to connect with each other at school. South Ridge students are already using the Friendship Bench, building new friendships one step at a time.