New Buddy Benches help students CARE about eachother

Above: A new initiative to help students make friends is dedicated to a girl remembered as having a special knack for it. (Contributed photo)

Woodward School shared news about a new initiative. The program helps students reach out to classmates in need of a friend.

It starts by giving lonely or upset students an easy way to let others know they are looking for friends. Just sit on the Buddy Bench.

The project was introduced through the school’s monthly CARE assembly. The assemblies promote the broader district initiative to teach students Compassion, Acceptence, and Respect for Everyone.

The Woodward Buddy Bench was dedicated in the memory of Abbie Benford, the late daughter of a Woodward teacher. The school’s notice shared, “She had a special knack for supporting the underdog and making everyone always feel welcome.”

Woodward and Finn Principal James Randall informs me that Finn School will also begin a Buddy Bench initiative in December.

Below is Randall’s full communication to parents, explaining the program and the special dedication:

The Woodward School in Southborough introduced a Buddy Bench to students during a CARE assembly on Friday, November 7, 2014.

The Buddy Bench will be an extension of the Woodward School’s Anti-Bullying program. Christian Buck, a second grade student in Pennsylvania, created the concept. It is a designated area where students feeling lonely or upset can seek camaraderie. If a child is having difficulty finding an activity to participate in at recess, he/she can sit on the Buddy Bench. When other children playing see a classmate on the bench they invite the child who is sitting there to play or talk with them. The idea is to empower students to recognize a need for an intervention.

Last year, one of the teachers at Woodward School suffered the devastating loss of her daughter. As an expression of the school community’s love and support for the Benford family, the parent group at Woodward (SOS) sponsored the bench and dedicated “Abbie’s Buddy Bench” in honor of their daughter Abbie.

Abbie was a 15-year-old girl with a vivacious personality. We heard many stories about the wonderful friend she was to all students. She had a special knack for supporting the underdog and making everyone always feel welcome. We hope “Abbie’s Buddy Bench” will inspire that same type of compassion and kindness. Her legacy will continue in our students so that they can… “Keep Smilin’”. The Keep Smilin’ for Abbie organization is dedicated to increasing anaphylaxis awareness, funding leading edge research and awarding two scholarships each year to high school seniors who are recognized through the “Keep Smilin” award. To find out more about this organization visit

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I dunno
9 years ago

In my day (I’m pushing 50), sitting on a bench like this would likely draw a bully rather than alleviate the problem. Does this actually work?

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