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'Buddy bench' at one Whitfield County School intends to build friendships

To better help her community, Leah wrote a letter to the principal about how the playground could use something to get kids interacting more with each other. (Image: WTVC)

For some kids, making new friends can be tough, especially at school.

But, one student in Whitfield County is re-shaping the way kids help each other build those friendships.

Tuesday was the first day back for students at Pleasant Grove Elementary. And this year, there's a new item on the playground. It's called a Buddy Bench.


"One of our students is a Girl Scout, and they have to do some community projects," Pleasant Grove Principal Laurie Grant said.

That student is 5th grader Leah.

To better help her community, Leah wrote a letter to the principal about how the playground could use something to get kids interacting more with each other.

"Most people, I just see them on the playground. They don't have anybody to play with," Leah said.

Leah hoped to solve that problem by giving kids a place to go on the playground to meet people.

"She wanted to do that to include any student who felt left out, to encourage friendship, and just promote that family orientation," Grant said.

But, Leah said the Buddy Bench does have some rules.

"If you're sitting on the Buddy Bench, the first person who asks you, you have to go and play with them, because it would be rude not to," Leah said.

Grant said Leah is all-in on this project.

"She's going to create the plan for it. They're going to be promoted on the announcements. She'll be visiting classrooms," Grant said.

Leah said when kids are feeling down, or just need a friend to chat with at recess, the Buddy Bench is the place to go.

"You may have to wait a little while, but someone should look over here and notice you, then come up here and ask you if you wanna play," Leah said.

Grant said they hope the Buddy Bench not only helps build new friendships, but also teaches students compassion and understanding.

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