Park students benefit from Buddy Bench

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The new Buddy Bench at Park Elementary School was installed and is now ready for students to use to build friendships on the playground, school counselor Julie Gibbs-Soeteber said.

Park received a $500 grant from the MCPASD Education Founation to purchase a Buddy Bench. The Park PTO donated funds to pay for installation.

"Thank you Education Foundation and Park PTO,'' Gibbs-Soeteber said.

Buddy Benches were first started in Germany and then introduced to an elementary school in York, Pa. by a second-grader who knew that some of his classmates felt lonely at recess.  A buddy bench is "a designated seating area where students feeling lonely or upset can seek camaraderie."

At Park, fourth-graders are using the bench to practice friendship problem-solving skills learned in guidance class and for making new friends, Gibbs-Soeteber said.

"We are excited to have this new tool to promote a respectful and responsible school playground,'' she said.

The Education Foundation was established in 2011 to provide inspiring experiences to District students and staff. The Foundation has handed out 41 grants worth more than $27,000 since 2013.

Every District school has received at least two grants. Park has reeived five grants worth $2,190 during that time. Park also received four Chromebooks from a grant from the Berbee Foundation that was written by the Foundation.