Playground bench helps Nampa kids make friends

It looks like an ordinary playground bench, but simply resting or tying your shoes there is not allowed.

The ‘buddy bench’ is a seat for students at Nampa’s Lake Ridge Elementary School who are seeking a friend at recess or lunch. If a kid is feeling lonely or left out, they can go and sit on the buddy bench and that lets others know they are looking for someone to play with.

Buddy Bench 2

“If gives students a tool who are looking for a friend,” said Dianira Cortez, a counselor at Lake Ridge.

Cortez learned about the buddy bench while taking classes at Northwest Nazarene University. A seven-year-old boy from Pennsylvania created the idea about three years ago.

“I noticed a lot of new students walking around during recess not sure who to connect with or approach to play,” Cortez said. “That is when I thought the buddy bench idea would benefit this school.”

The schools PTA and a school-wide fundraiser helped cover the $850 cost of the bench.

“It’s not cheap,” said Steve LaBau, the principal at Lake Ridge. “The bench is gaining a lot of traction in the community and it’s worth it for the kids.”