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Lincoln Charter, York College work to foster friendship with Buddy Bench

Written by Angie Mason, York Daily Record | Oct 19, 2015 4:00 PM

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Students from the Safety Patrol at Lincoln Charter School sit on a wall while waiting to meet with students from the York College group Enactus on Friday, Oct. 16, 2015. The college group was leading a training seminar for students from the charter school, teaching them about respect. Jason Plotkin - York Daily Record/Sunday News (Jason Plotkin)

(York) -- Jazlyn Preap, a fifth-grader at Lincoln Charter School in York, didn't always have a lot of kids to play with.

So she thought being part of her school's safety patrol -- this year being known as "agents of friendship" -- would be a good opportunity to help other students who might be experiencing the same thing.

She can help those kids and let them know how she used to feel, she said. During recess, it will be her responsibility to make sure her classmates have someone to play with.

"I'm friendly. I like to cooperate," she said.

Lincoln Charter School is putting its safety patrol through friendship training this year, as it prepares for the arrival of the school's new Buddy Bench.

The Buddy Bench, an idea sparked by a Central York School District student, has taken off locally and nationwide. Students feeling lonely can go to the benches, and then other students will know to go talk to them or play.

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Akasha Overton, left, a student from Lincoln Charter School, tosses a beach ball with questions on it during an ice breaker at York College on Friday, Oct. 16, 2015. Lauren Balcerak, right, a freshman at the college with the group Enactus, was part of a training seminar for students from the charter school, teaching them about respect. Jason Plotkin - York Daily Record/Sunday News (Jason Plotkin)

Anne Clark, community outreach director for Lincoln, said that when the Buddy Bench is in place in a couple of weeks, the school wanted to make sure students understood what to do when a child sat there and how they could be good friends to others, even when it's hard.

The school's bench is the result of several community partnerships. CORE Design Group, a York architectural firm, came up with designs for the bench, based on student ideas, and students voted for their favorite. The end result is more of an elaborate structure with various levels and a canopy, aimed at being a place for kids to play, too. The design incorporates some of the charter school's core value words.

Enactus, a group at York College that aims to use entrepreneurial action to make a difference, is footing the $9,000 cost of the bench. Students involved in the group will be working with the safety patrol students once a month, either at the college or at the charter school. They'll offer a sort of training session, with a focus on one of the charter school's core values -- this month it was respect.

"I think it's really important at a young age that students understand the importance of anti-bullying," said Lydia Moro, a York College junior.

It's also great to bring young students to the college campus, she said, so that they see going to college as something they can do, even close to home.

Contact Angie Mason at 717-771-2048.

At a glance

Christian Bucks, a student at Roundtown Elementary School in Central York School District, worked to bring the idea of the Buddy Bench to his school in 2013.

The idea took off, around York, the rest of the country and the globe.

Learn more about the concept and how far the idea has spread at www.buddybench.org.

Also of interest 

Buddy Benches multiplying around York County


This article comes to us through a partnership between York Daily Record and WITF. 

Published in News, York

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