Have you ever heard of a “Buddy Bench”? I had the opportunity to find out just what a Buddy Bench is at a recent Exchange Club meeting.

Karissa Ham, an Anatomy Class teacher at Quincy Senior High School, was the speaker that day and she expressed her desire to have a Buddy Benches at the new Quincy schools. The Buddy Bench is just that.  It is a bench at a school playground where a student can sit when they need a "buddy", whether it's from bullying, depression or just needs a friend.

It was designed to promote friendship and curb loneliness on the playground. When a child feels left-out or lonely and could use someone to talk to they just sit on the bench and someone will come over and sit with them and talk or ask them to play. The plan is for these benches to be located at all of the new elementary schools in Quincy. They are being made from recycled bottle caps collected by students at Quincy High School.

Once the students heard of a need by a local little boy, for other reasons, they all jumped on board and began collecting as many of the plastic bottle caps as they could financially help him. They collected thousands of caps before they were told the little boy’s need was no longer. So what should they do with all these collected plastic bottle caps?

That’s when the Buddy Bench project was mentioned and accepted by the students. The idea was also accepted by the National Exchange Club who adopted the Buddy Bench idea as a National Program of Service at last year's convention. If interested in helping, contact Karissa Ham at Quincy Senior High School. In case you were wondering, the cost can range from $175 to over $500 per bench and that’s a lot of bottle caps!