Hopkins students plant 'Buddy Benches' to thwart bullying

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Buddy Benches have become a way for Hopkins students to tackle bullying issues at their elementary schools. Several schools across the country are trying them as way to foster relationships. Six months ago, a group of sixth-grade girls in the Hopkins School District learned about it and decided Buddy Benches should be on as many playgrounds as possible.

Playgrounds can often be the place where friendships are made, but at times, they’re also the same place where some kids feel more alone than ever. The girls from Girl Scout Troop 16295 decided to do something about it, and organized and raised money for a bench that now sits at Eisenhower Elementary.

“If there is a child feeling left out or sad, they can come site on the bench and someone is walking by – they know they need someone to play with,” sixth-grader Jenna Holden explained.

With more than $1,000 raised, there are also four benches at Tanglen Elementary, handmade by a local Eagle Scout. Soon, a bench will be placed at Alice Smith, thanks in large part to Osa Hanneman, a now second-grader who simply doesn't want other kids to play by themselves.

“It's pretty boring because you go around by yourself and don’t do anything,” Osa said.

The girls used iPads to shoot, edit and produce a video that will teach students at their schools the benefits of the Buddy Benches. The scouts earned the highest Girl Scout honor, the “Bronze Award.” They hope to add even more Buddy Benches throughout the district.