Sometimes the toughest problems can be solved by kids. Take Christian Bucks, for example, who came up with a simple solution to promote kindness and inclusion at his elementary school when he was only a second grader. Christian’s family was planning a move to Germany and looking at new schools. One of the schools had a bench on the playground that caught Christian’s attention. Sitting on this special bench signified to peers on the playground that you need a buddy, either to sit with you or to invite you to join an activity. It was easy for Christian to imagine utilizing this bench as the new kid from another country.
In the end, the move didn’t happen, but the idea stuck. Christian thought his York, Pennsylvania elementary school could use one, so he proposed the idea to his principal, Matthew Miller. Before long, Roundtown Elementary School had a Buddy Bench of its own designed by Christian himself. Being lonely on the playground suddenly had a simple, compassionate solution.
And the thing about good ideas like Christian’s is that they spread. Local media picked up the story, but it soon gained traction beyond the community. Buddy Benches began popping up not just in the United States but in 12 other countries, and Christian was frequently invited to attend bench installations and talk about his ideas. In fact, his idea even spread into a TED Talk given by another boy, Charlie Cooper in Australia who was inspired by Christian!
It’s been three years since that first Buddy Bench, but the idea is still going strong. And as it does, kids learn to offer support to each other support, an act that is intrinsically anti-bully in nature. It’s proof that one person, even a child, can have a huge impact.
October is Anti-Bullying Month, and we’re on the lookout for cool kids like Christian Bucks who are working to make a difference in their communities to promote kindness and stomp out bullying. Keep checking back all through the month of October for more cool kid highlights!
To find out how you can support the Buddy Bench cause or have one installed in your community or school, visit Christian’s website.
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