Youthbuild adds ‘Buddy Benches’ at schools

Published 4:45 am Wednesday, November 1, 2017

YouthBuild, a program of Northshore Technical Community College, recently built and delivered “Buddy Benches” to Byrd and Central Elementary Schools, to Head Start, and to Northshore Charter School.

YouthBuild executive director Danielle Magee-Keys explained the project.

“The Buddy Bench is based on the simple idea of eliminating loneliness and fostering friendships on the playground,” she said. “A little boy named Christian, who was in the first grade, learned about these benches when his family anticipated a move to Germany.

“The little boy was apprehensive about the move, but the idea of Buddy Benches put his mind at ease. Christian knew that these benches being on the playground would help him make friends, in the event he was sad.

“Ultimately, his family did not move, but Christian went to his principal in Pennsylvania and presented the idea. He knew there were lonely children at his school during recess. He presented to the school board, and the benches were placed. The kids loved it”

Magee-Keys said that the local newspaper did a story, and it was picked up by the Huffington Post, NBC and other media outlets. The Buddy Bench movement has since spread across the country.

“This is NTCC and YouthBuild Bogalusa’s contribution toward fostering positive self-esteem, and supporting positive mental health, and eradicating childhood loneliness in a small way for our community,” she said.

The benches were delivered to the schools last Thursday. At the meeting of the Bogalusa City School Board that night, Superintendent Lisa Tanner thanked YouthBuild for undertaking the project.