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Helping students make friends one cap at a time

Many of us have either seen or been that child on the playground who has no friends to play with and is too shy to approach anyone. An elementary school in Jessamine County recently installed benches intended to fix that problem.

Buddy Benches are meant for students who do not have anyone to play with during recess. The goal is for other students to invite the child sitting on the bench to come play with them.

Once the administration team at Hattie C. Warner Elementary decided they wanted two buddy benches, it only took students, staff and families four months to collect the 800 pounds of plastic caps needed.

“One of the reasons we met the goal so quickly is because our families got behind the initiative,” said Dr. Kim Brockman, principal of Hattie C. Warner Elementary.

The goal was to have the benches mid-year so the 5th graders would get to enjoy them before graduating on to middle school.

Brockman and the school psychologist, Amber Bruner, traveled to Evansville, Indiana over Christmas break to deliver the plastic caps in exchange for two benches from Green Tree Plastics — a company that manufactures items such as benches, picnic tables, parking stops, statues, fences and trash receptacles using 100 percent recycled plastics.

The benches were unveiled on Jan. 23, and then installed in their new homes on the playground. 

“We want to make sure that all students are included, and that everyone has someone to play with at recess,” said Emily Coy, curriculum resource administrator at Hattie C. Warner Elementary.