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Fifth graders get buddy benches installed at Silver Trail Elementary

Posted: 7:07 PM, Jan 24, 2020
Updated: 2020-01-24 21:07:22-05

KUNA — There's a new piece of equipment on the silver trail elementary playground, a buddy bench. It's where students can sit if they are feeling isolated and want a friend to talk with.

Molly, Sibley, and Ella had an idea for a class assignment, but they decided to turn it into something bigger. Their efforts to install buddy benches have helped multiple students feel included.

"We were just like, oh, well, we want these people to have friends, and we saw them lonely at lunch," said Ella.

"I think since a lot of people maybe don't feel like going up to other people on other things like other places around the playground that they can feel okay if someone comes, and it can be a little easier," said Molly.

They'd seen buddy benches at other schools and got principal Ken Lilienkamp on board to get one at Silver Trail Elementary.

"They set an appointment with me, and then I went in, and they were already sitting in my office waiting for me and just smiling, and so I sat down, and they had this proposal," said Lilienkamp.

They set a goal of $500 and sold hot cocoa and muffins before school. Through their efforts, two buddy benches now sit around the playground.

"I think it's important because then you have someone to play with at recess, and then like if you're always feeling sad, then your friend can cheer you up," said Ella.

The benches are already drawing more kids together.

"A little girl was using it on the other side of the building, and my friend went up to her, and she came up, and she saw another girl on it today and went up and talked to her," said Sibley.

The girls head off to middle school next year, but they're hoping their lasting legacy reminds their peers to be a good friend.

"I hope future kids know that we wanted this bench so they can make friends, and I hope they use it and know they don't have to be scared to sit on this bench and make a friend," said Ella.