Second-grader stamps out loneliness in the playground with a 'buddy bench'

Christian Bucks with his 'buddy bench'.
Christian Bucks with his 'buddy bench'. Photo: York Daily Record/Sunday News

Christian Bucks, a second-grader from York in America, came up with a heart-warming idea to ensure children in his schoolyard need never feel lonely again.

The compassionate youngster from Roundtown Elementary School in Central York School District, went to his school principal with the idea to install a ‘buddy bench’, which is essentially a meeting point for lonely children looking for friends to play with.

In an address to his school, Christian explained how the ‘buddy bench’ operates.

“If you are feeling lonely and you don’t have anything to do you can go to the buddy bench and the idea is that someone will come and ask if you want to play or talk. If two people are sitting at the bench they can ask each other if they want to play,” he said.

But he was quick to reinforce that this bench was not to be used for just hanging or sitting like other, ordinary benches. This bench has a special purpose, and that is “to help grow our dream circle of friends.”

According to the York Daily Record, Christian was inspired by a similar ‘buddy bench’ he saw in a photograph of a German school while the family were researching the possibility of a temporary move overseas for his father’s work.

His mother, Alyson Bucks, said her son was instantly drawn to the idea once her husband, Justin Bucks, explained the concept to him.

"He thought this was a great way to help other kids who might feel lonely or left out from time to time," she said in an interview with the York Daily Record.

When Christian first brought the idea to his school at the end of last year, Principal Matthew Miller thought it was a great idea and set about finding the right bench for the kids.

“Before he ordered the bench, he showed me the colours and I got to pick the style and colour of the bench," said Christian to the York Daily Record.

The second-grader was also the first person to sit on the friend-making bench. A fact he is also very proud of. 

Navigating the highs and lows of playground politics can be overwhelming for children but with Christian’s help this schoolyard just got a whole lot friendlier.

"We show we care about others when we ask others to play," he said. "I also hope that new friendships will be made because of the buddy bench."

And we are sure there will be, thanks to a kind-hearted boy who took some initiative.

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