FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) – A second grader’s idea to help fellow classmates who may feel lonely is spreading fast through school campuses in Frisco.

Abbie Hanson, 8, came up with the idea of what she called a “buddy bench.

“You can sit on the buddy bench and surely someone will come over and be your friend,” said Hanson. She said when a child sits on the buddy bench, it’s a signal to other kids that they want to play.

It’s a simple idea, which is helping solve the complex problem of children feeling ostracized by classmates. Second grader Leah Biju used the bench at Shawnee Trail Elementary School.

“I was feeling lonely and sad because I didn’t have any friends,” said Biju. It didn’t take long for another student to notice Biju sitting alone on the bench. “I saw a girl… I saw a girl that I had no idea who she was was and I said ‘do you want to play catch with me?’ and then we became BFFs,” said second grader Valerie Askey.

Hanson’s buddy benches have grown in popularity in the last four months at Shawnee Trail Elementary School. There are now benches at 14 other schools.

“I love it, that was very inspiring to see for a second grader,” said school counselor, Cyndi Steward.

More than a tool to bridge the gap between new and current students, buddy benches fit in with Frisco’s emphasis on making students feel accepted. Thus, improving overall performance in the classroom.


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