A bench may just be a place to sit but at Christoval Elementary that seat serves a bigger purpose.

Not only does the bench help those ‘new kids’ at school, it also encourages other students to find friends outside of their own circle.

“They can just sit on the buddy bench and it tells everybody that they don't have a friend and you can invite them to play,” said Cade Kattner.

Bullying is a nation-wide issue but efforts like this buddy bench make it easier for kids to find a place to fit in.

The buddy bench was sanded and hand painted by two fifth graders, Cade and Hailey Hughes, who say there are a few rules when it comes to using the bench.

“The first one is don’t sit on it if you don’t need a buddy, and the first person to ask you to play you have to say yes,” said Hughes.

Tracy Knighton, the principal at Christoval Elementary School says this initiative is already working wonders.

“I’ve seen it firsthand where some of our little kids were sitting there and some of the older kids came to ask them if they wanted to play, and to see the smile on their face that someone older wanted to play was tremendous,” said Knighton.
The buddy bench also helps deter bullying among all ages by teaching the golden rule - do unto others as you would have them do unto you.