Clearbrook Elementary School students (left to right) Myra Brar, Ryah Kambho, Reese Ritchie, Mehair Sidhu and Mya Bains, along with teacher Ms. Teillet (back row) pose on the brand new ‘Buddy Bench’ which will soon be installed at the school. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

VIDEO: Abbotsford students bring ‘buddy bench’ to Clearbrook Elementary

New bench will help to fight loneliness amongst students and help build friendships

The message has been sent loud and clear from a group of Grade 5 students at Clearbrook Elementary: No matter who you are, you’re not alone.

That sentiment has been literally constructed by the pupils after raising money to fund the purchase, construction and installation of a “buddy bench,” which will soon sit proudly on school grounds.

The idea is that if a student feels lonely, they can go to the bench as a signal that they need someone to play with. Another child will then talk to them and include them in their games.

Fundraising efforts came about through a community project at the school last year, when students were tasked to select a problem they thought was occurring at the school and come up with a solution. Loneliness was the problem a group of five female students came up with.

“There are a lot of people who are lonely and have no one to play with and you see them go around and ask people to play with them,” said Mehair Sidhu, one of the students. “We’re trying to make the school a better place.”

Her classmate Ryah Kambho agreed and, after seeing information online about the buddy-bench concept, the plan came into motion.

“We saw a lot of people outside who didn’t have friends so we thought it would be a good idea to bring the bench to the school,” she said.

RELATED: ‘Buddy bench at Mt. Lehman Elementary

Teacher Nicole Teillet said battling loneliness and making sure everyone feels welcome is something the school aspires to do.

“We like to talk about virtues a lot here, and kindness and respect are the two we talk about every year,” she said. “The girls, their parents and grandparents came together as a team. They held bake sales and really the whole school came together.”

The bench will now be located on the playground at the school.

Teillet, a Grade 5 teacher who is in her fourth year of teaching at Clearbrook, said she hopes the bench can help make the school a better place and creates friendships.

“I hope it creates a legacy of kindness,” she said. “What we’re hoping is that it initiates compassion and care for students. It can show them that it’s not just up to adults to find them a friend to play; students will start independently helping each other.”

Student Mya Bains reiterated that point. “It’s so everyone has a friend and they don’t feel lonely at recess,” she said.

“I’m so impressed with these students,” Teillet added. “They thought up the idea in Grade 4 and I’m amazed how they all worked together.”

The work order to mount the bench, which will be located in the playground area, has been submitted and all parties involved hope to see it completed in the near future.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

UFV grads of 2020 honoured in innovative ways

No convocation ceremony due to pandemic, but grads receive ‘celebration box’

Abbotsford Flea Market reopening on Sunday

Market has been closed since March 8 due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Abbotsford City Hall re-opens for scheduled appointments

In-person meetings with staff can now be booked for the first time since March

Marshall Road upgrades eyed after apartment approved

City staff counted 44 U-turns in one day on side street near proposed development

Peak on the lower Fraser River expected to arrive Monday

Peak predicted for July 6, with flows decreasing from there: River Forecast Centre

Following incident at sea, fishing lodge says it will reopen despite Haida travel ban

QCL reopens July 10, says president; Haida chief councillor describes ‘dangerous’ boating encounter

Kamloops RCMP officer’s conduct under review after blackface jokes on social media

Meinke’s Instagram is private and it’s unclear when the posts were made

NHL says 35 players have tested positive for COVID-19 since June 8

Positive rate for the league is just under 6%

Man charged in Rideau Hall crash had rifle, shotguns, high-capacity magazine: RCMP

Hurren is accused of threatening to cause death or bodily harm to the prime minister

B.C. extends income assistance exemption for COVID-19

Provincial program to match Ottawa’s CERB, student pay

Most Read