XENIA, Ohio (WDTN) – Students at McKinley Elementary in Xenia will return to school on Monday and when they come back they will see a new bench.
It doesn’t look that special from a distance, but it actually says Buddy Bench on it and it wouldn’t be there had it not been for Jillian Dameron.
Her past experiences at an old school made the bench a reality.
“One time I was mad at this girl and sat at the bench a little. But then she came down and said she was sorry. I forgave her and we went and played,” said Dameron.
It’s just one example of how two simple words and a bench can influence an entire playground.
Dameron wrote a letter to her principal, explaining why she thought a bench would help her friends.
“Me and my mother were talking about it. She encouraged me to write a letter to the principal saying maybe McKinley should have a Buddy Bench,” said Dameron.
Carlisa Dameron, Jillian’s mom says kids can say some pretty random things.
But when her daughter brought up a Buddy Bench, and why she thought it would be good for her new school, Carlisa decided to help her daughter try to make it a reality.
“The timing for the bench is crucial. Because I think there are going to be hard transitions for either new kids at school or kids who have a hard time coming back to school,” said Carlisa Dameron.
The district replied to the letter a week later and now the bench is ready for the new school year.
Jillian is a former ‘new kid.’ Her mom thinks that may have played a role in inspiring her daughter to help her classmates.
“She is a very fun, happy kind of girl. It does not take long for her to find friends. But she really notices when others maybe don’t have it as easy. She wanted to make sure everyone has a friend,” said Dameron.
On average, a Buddy Bench can range in price from $400-500.