Girl Power in Virginia!
We wanted to share an inspirational story about a group of middle school girls (and one boy that recently joined them) working together to bring Buddy Benches to elementary schools in the Henrico County, Virginia area. The group of teens are members of the Technology Students Association at Holman Middle School in Henrico County.
This story is about what these girls have done. Three of the girls went to the same elementary school, Twin Hickory, where there was a teacher that they thought a lot of. In the fall she passed away to cancer and there was a desire to do something in her honor. Several people wanted to place a Buddy Bench on the school yard in honor of the teacher. They looked into the Buddy Bench concept and found out that it was where people were placing benches on school yards to support children that are victims of bullying, need a friend, are new to an area, or just feel left out.
The girls became committed to making a Buddy Bench in honor of the teacher, but something happened along the way. As the girls talked more and more about this bench, it became personal to them. They had experienced being lonely on the school yard and the difficulty with making friends. In a couple of cases they had been victims of bullying. The girls decided it would be neat to build several benches and put them at other schools in support of Henrico Silence Hurts.
A couple of people worked to help the girls reach out. The girls reached out and visited other elementary schools in Henrico County, Mehfoud and Montrose Elementary. They visited the principals at the schools and soon found out that the schools had been working on trying to get the benches on their playgrounds, and in one case for two years, in support of their children. Soon this project became multiple benches at multiple schools.
Arrangements were made for the girls to reach out to the construction community in Richmond for lumber donations to help them build the benches. They met with KBS Building Technologies and WM Jordan and both companies provided them lumber to build 4 more benches. They also did a presentation to the Association of General Contractors of Virginia for additional materials to continue building benches.
As of today the girls have made 6 benches going to the following schools: 1 at Twin Hickory, 1 at Rivers Edge, 2 at Mehfoud and 2 at Montrose. They have more schools they are talking to, based on the lumber donations.
They have painted and personalized each bench for the school it is going to. As we talked about it, each hand print is encouragement and support. These girls and their one boy spent their spring break giving back with their time and labor to something very special. They have experienced something unique that will be a part of their lives forever.
What an amazing group of kids! They are truly an inspiration and are making a difference in the lives of young people for years to come. THANK YOU for your efforts!
This picture below is from Montrose Elementary school, where two Buddy Benches were donated. The building team is on the left, with the principal standing behind them.
What is the Buddy Bench?
Roundtown Elementary helped make this possible, and we thank them for being receptive to Christian's idea!