ST. CLOUD - Madison Elementary students who are feeling down or looking for a friend next year can sit in the "Buddy Bench", a bench to signal to others that you're feeling lonely.

The bench was funded through donations collected by kids in the student council. Students who are feeling sad or left out can sit in the bench to show other kids that they could use a friend.

11-year-old Max Penzkover was with the council and says he felt the bench will help many students with making friends.

"We get a lot of new students and maybe they don't have any friends yet-so they can sit on there and then people can ask if they want to play with them...that's how friends are made," Penzkover says.

Fellow council member Paige Christiansen adds that students can also use the bench to signal to others that they're feeling sad or angry.

"Even if someone is just having a bad day, that's another reason they can use the Buddy Bench," Christiansen says.

Students in the council brainstormed multiple projects as a way to give back to the community. The group ultimately decided to keep the project at the school with the buddy bench.

Stacy Louis is a teacher and student council advisor at Madison. She says the students did most of the work, collecting donations to build the bench throughout the year.

"I pretty much just game them the collection box and said go collect every morning," Louis says.

With the bench now at the school, Louis says she couldn't be more proud of her students.

"I'm so proud just to see them start with an idea, follow through with it and have it be so awesome-it will impact the school for many years to come," Louis says.

The bench will be moved to the playground area for students to use starting in the 2014-2015 school year.

 

Dan DeBaun, WJON News
Dan DeBaun, WJON News