Be a Buddy, Choose Kind

Photo taken by Ann Steers

With the school year close to starting, this is an important reminder. Global Village Academy in Parker, has made it a priority to prevent bullying. After Tamara Hine, a teacher there, lost her son, Rileigh Elton, the class decided to make a positive impact on the school. In their art class, led by Mrs. Ann Steers, they decided to make a Buddy Bench. The materials were expensive, so each student came to school with a five dollar donation.

After browsing the internet for ideas, the class agreed that the decoration near the bench should be multiple people holding hands. Using small pieces of wood, each one a different size to represent diversity, two students paired up to make a person. Each person was different. Some even had streaks of color in their hair! It was a great reminder to not judge someone by their appearance.

Thanks to the donations, they were able to afford the outdoor paint. Partners decided what parts they would get to paint. Everyday, they would go outside and finish working. Due to the weather, the process took longer than expected. But, this almost encouraged the students’ efforts.

Soon, the masterpiece was complete. The school was able to see the bench. The class went around sharing to other classes how it worked. The idea of the bench was to be able to go there if in need of a friend, or wanting to try meeting new friends. Soon, it was making good progress. Children from Mrs. Hine’s class made sure that if anyone was sitting on the bench, to include them immediately.

After a while, others started to catch on. Kindness started to spread. Even the students who weren’t sitting on the bench became included in games. The Buddy Bench was a reminder to be kind.

At the end of the school year, each student who participated got to put their handprint on the back of their artwork with paint. Mrs. Hine’s class enjoyed a picnic. Some even told a couple of kindness stories. They all got to admire their work and relax. Students were able to chat and just appreciate the kindness theme.

Being a friend can make a huge difference in someone’s life. You can be the change the world needs. Help teach the importance of kindness. Make this school year different. Choose kind.