(via Awesome Ottawa)
June’s Awesome Ottawa award goes to Jenny Guth, which includes a $1,000 grant to support a “buddy bench” for Stittsville Public School.
“For many students,” explains Jenny, “recess is often the best part of the school day. But for others, it can be a very lonely time. The buddy bench is an ordinary bench placed in the schoolyard. Children who are sad or looking for playmates can sit on the bench to signal they would like someone to come talk to them or ask them to play.”
Buddy benches originated in Germany, and have been implemented in schools around the world. They are meant to be symbols of inclusion and kindness in the schoolyard, and are used to teach students about empathy and friendship for all.
Jenny is the mother of a junior kindergarten student at Stittsville Public School. “When I was a little girl,” she says, “I was excluded at school — a lot. I eventually learned to stand up for myself and others,” says Jenny, “and am now a lawyer.”
“The bench has not been approved to go ahead because there is apparently not yet enough support at the school, so the money is being held in trust until that might happen,” wrote Jenny in an email to StittsvilleCentral.ca. “Hopefully, this grant shows that the project is considered very worthy by many. It’s very dear to my heart and I think if it helps even a few kids to feel accepted, or to learn to be more empathetic, it will be very worth it.”
Awesome Ottawa is the Ottawa chapter of the Awesome Foundation, an ever-growing worldwide network of people devoted to forwarding the interest of awesome in the universe. Each chapter distributes $1,000 awards every month to projects and their creators. Awards are provided with no strings attached, and the Awesome Foundation claims no ownership over the projects it supports.