Buddy Bench Bringing Holy Nativity Students Together
It’s been just over a month since Aina Haina’s Holy Nativity School installed a Buddy Bench on its campus, but it takes less than a minute for the bench to work its magic with students.
How it works is pretty simple, according to Caden Lombard, a Hawaii Kai resident and the Holy Nativity fifth-grader who spearheaded the effort to install the program at the school.
“You have a bench on the playground,” he explained, “and whenever a kid is feeling sad, lonely or doesn’t have anything to do at recess, you can go sit on the Buddy Bench. Then someone else will go over to him and ask him to play.
“I’ve seen a lot of kids using it,” Lombard added. “They’re not even there for a minute before someone asks them to play.”
Buddy Bench was started by Christian Bucks of Pennsylvania at Roundtown Elementary School, and the concept has been spreading across the Mainland. When Lombard heard about Buddy Bench, he decided it’d be cool to have one at his school, too.
Head of school Tim Spurrier agrees that it has been an excellent match for Holy Nativity, which focuses on character education as a curriculum pillar. “It really sets a different tone for the entire school,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot of positives.”
Bucks and his mother visited in November for the dedication of Buddy Bench at Holy Nativity, and the school will be making fliers after Christmas break to inform and remind both new and old students of the bench rules every quarter.
Spurrier is excited to see Buddy Bench spread beyond the school grounds. “When Caden brought it to me, we talked about it, and we want to make sure it gets out to all the different schools,” he said, noting that Island Pacific Academy in Kapolei has already expressed interest to him in starting its own Buddy Bench program.
“Buddy Bench went along so well with what we do,” Spurrier said. “We’d love to get some of the public schools involved, too.”