Mrs. Renee DeMichiei Farrow donated a Buddy Bench to Pivik Elementary students as a way for her family to give back to the community and pass along the lessons she learned battling bouts with bullying. Farrow who openly shares about her experiences being a bully and being on the receiving end of bullying, and said the bench is designed to create healthy social and emotional connections, encourage friendships, increase a sense of belonging, and eliminate loneliness.
A Buddy Bench is a tool to help students to express acts of kindness. Students can choose to sit on the bench to signal they are looking for someone to play with or having a difficult day. When another child sees someone sitting on the bench, they are encouraged to invite them to play.
Mrs. Farrow says, “Based on recent events, we need to be kinder and more empathetic and help someone who is not having a good day. With my history, this is something I am very passionate about — helping children learn how to be respectful of others.”
Mrs. Amy Palumbo, Guidance Counselor at Pivik Elementary School, says “It’s been a wonderful experience watching the children use the bench. It fosters friendship and allows for inclusion. Students are still learning how to communicate their feelings. Sitting on the bench helps them to verbalize what they feel when they need a friend.”