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Weirton Elementary School promoting friendships with ‘buddy benches’

Officials at Weirton Elementary School are making sure no one is without a friend during recess. The project started when a new student noticed something was missing from the school's playground -- a buddy bench.

Officials at Weirton Elementary School are making sure no one is without a friend during recess.

The project started when a new student noticed something was missing from the school's playground -- a buddy bench.

“At my old school, they were for kids who didn't have anybody to play with, and they would sit on them for kids to come over and ask them if they wanted to play with them,” said 10-year-old 4th grader Aiden Nolan.

Nolan introduced the concept when he started at Weirton in the fall. He had gone to Jefferson Primary, where buddy benches were introduced last year after a teacher saw the idea online.

“It makes other kids feel happy that people want to play with them,” Aiden said.

Aidan's teacher, Kathy Carey, took the idea to the Weirton Elementary PTA, and the group bought 10 buddy benches from the Jefferson County sheltered workshop.

“We don't see children on the benches for very long and that's really exciting,” Carey said. “We talk about be a friend to everybody and Aidan's idea made that so much easier for our school.”

As a special recognition, one of the benches is personalized.

Aidan’s initials are on one of the buddy benches.

“I think it's a great way for everyone to become friends and have fun on the playground,” said Aidan’s classmate, Lizzie Jagela.

It's true that kids learn through play. And the new benches are teaching everyone that a buddy on the playground, is never very far.

“If you’re alone, somebody will help you,” said 4th grader Angelo Figlioli, “so don’t just give up.”

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