WAKEFIELD — Jenna Farber, a student in Estelle Burdick’s first grade class at the Woodville School, had an idea for helping those who might be a little down. That idea sparked an interest in others, including second graders, Woodville PTO members, and Principal Michelle Zottoli.
Jenna envisioned a “Buddy Bench” on the grounds of the Farm Street school, a safe place at recess for children who might need a friend to play with. The youths sit on the bench and fellow students know they may be feeling a little lost and would like a friend. A peer then comes and asks the students on the bench to come play.
Jenna Farber learned about a “Buddy Bench” after reading an article in Highlights magazine. Her classmates as well as those in the second grade got behind the idea completely. The second graders were doing a persuasive writing project, and they took on the first graders’ proposal. Letters were written to the principal persuading her to create a “Buddy Bench.” The younger students made posters and came up with a design plan of how to make it welcoming to children.
On Monday night, the first graders, accompanied by their teacher, principal and others, pitched their plan to the Woodville PTO, which backed it wholeheartedly.
Today, a coin fundraiser drive is being held to help defray the cost of the work.
Jenna Farber inspired her classmates and others to get behind a good project, work hard to promote it and get the plan approved. One day soon, they all will see their labor rewarded with a Woodville “Buddy Bench.”
— Bob Burgess