At Kaiser Permanente, we believe the health of our communities is just as important as the health of our patients. So as part of our commitment to Washington communities and thriving schools, we’re donating 30 Buddy Benches to elementary schools in the Spokane area during the current school year.
What’s a Buddy Bench?
The goal of a Buddy Bench is to promote inclusion and connection on the playground. Recess and lunch hour can be lonely or anxious times for some kids. Teachers instruct their students to sit on a Buddy Bench when they don’t have someone to play with at recess or if they need a friend to talk to. Children are also taught that when their classmates are on the Buddy Bench, that’s a signal to go and ask if they’d like to play, eat together, or talk. Buddy Benches encourage friends to sit together, and inspire students to seek out other classmates who might be alone.
“It’s important to keep not only our bodies healthy, but our minds and feelings as well,” said Debra Gore, MD, a Spokane-area primary care doctor with Kaiser Permanente who took part in a Buddy Bench assembly at Franklin Elementary School. “Having a bench like this gives us all a safe place in these sometimes trying times.”
Kaiser Permanente presents Buddy Benches during school assemblies. It’s an opportunity to talk about the importance of keeping playgrounds happy and healthy for kids. Some schools have performed skits or show a video about how the Buddy Bench is to be used. A few schools even sang a song of thanks!
Buddy Bench locations
In the fall of 2017, we provided Buddy Benches to Arlington, East Farms, Hamblen, Lidgerwood, Nine Miles, Orchard Center, and Whitman elementary schools, as well as Freeman Schools (elementary, middle, and high schools). Earlier this year, we presented them to Balboa, Franklin, and Wilson elementary schools. And more schools are scheduled to receive benches throughout the year.