The Clare and Gilbert Valleys Youth Advisory Committee officially completed the Clare leg of their Buddy Bench project last Wednesday afternoon when they unveiled the finished products.
It was a long, three month process working on and off for the YAC members everyday after school whenever possible to complete the project
Youth Development Officer Colene Noble praised the dedication of the YAC members for their hard work and dedication to the project, which will help to prevent bullying in the schoolyard.
“It provides a positive reinforcement of the anti-bullying messages to the children,” she said.
“It is a chance to be proactive and foster relationships, promoting discussion and kindness. It is one small step.”
Mrs. Noble said she hoped the benches would help to unite friends and to strengthen already strong relationships in all the schools in the Mid North.
Clare Primary School councilor Greg Gibbs, Clare Valley Children’s Centre Director Airlie Meyer and The Gums Childcare Centre Assistant Director Jackie Scott were all on hand to receive their benches at the official unveiling.
The Buddy Bench project was made possible by sponsors Clare Districts Lions Club, Clare Rodeo Committee, Pinks Mitre 10 and Sanders H Hardware.
Originally implemented in Germany, the Buddy Bench took off in America after second grader Christian Bucks approached his Primary School in Pennsylvania with the idea having come across the project while researching a potential move abroad.
The Buddy Bench is a designated area of the playground where children who feel upset, lonely or need to talk to someone can find that help.
They can be utilised in a number of different ways, from appointing children to take responsibility of befriending children on the bench, to older students being selected to go on ‘Buddy Bench’ duty.
A school-wide agreement could also be put in place to ensure that all children should play with whoever sits on the bench.
Buddy Benches have proven to be an effective way of promoting inclusion and friendship on the playground in overseas schools.
YAC will now being painting benches for Auburn Primary, Watervale Primary, Saddleworth Primary and Riverton Primary which will be sponsored by the Gilbert Valley Lions.