A Wish for Friendship

A 9-year-old from Indiana is spreading friendship, one Buddy Bench at a time.

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Starting a Movement

Sammie’s one wish is that every child has a friend and no one feels excluded. Her wish has been the driving force behind a very special movement in schools across the country. It began with a simple idea: get a Buddy Bench for her elementary school playground. And that’s what she did. For her school, and hundreds of schools in Indiana.

When Sandra, a teacher in Staten Island, New York, heard about Sammie and the Buddy Benches, she knew she had to get one for her school. Sandra’s school, The Academy of St. Dorothy, had recently merged with another elementary school in town, forcing students of all ages to adjust and make new friends. In her eyes, a Buddy Bench would be the perfect way to teach the kids the importance of inclusion.

So, UPS delivered. We flew Sammie from Indiana to Staten Island, New York where she helped deliver a Buddy Bench to the excited and enthusiastic students at The Academy of St. Dorothy. Then, Sammie spent the day teaching everyone how to use the Buddy Bench, making new friends all along the way. To help Sammie’s wish come true, we created a shipping fund to help get more Buddy Benches in schools across the country.

Nine-year-old Sammie sitting on a Buddy Bench waiting for a new friend.
Sammie collecting plastic bottle caps to recycle into Buddy Benches.
Sandra, a teacher at the Academy of St. Dorothy in Staten Island, carrying plastic bottle caps collected by her students.
The students of St. Dorothy help their teacher sort through the caps.
Four students hold up plastic bottle caps collected by their classmates.
Sammie in the UPS package car pulling up to the Academy of St. Dorothy.
Sammie helping the UPS driver make a special delivery to the students.
The big reveal! The Academy of St. Dorothy gets their Buddy Bench with the help of Sammie and UPS.
Sammie’s biggest fans! The students high-fiving Sammie after meeting her for the first time.
Students using the Buddy Bench to make new friends.
Sammie making a new friend.