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Fort Wayne girl's 'buddy benches' to be featured in national campaign

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - The Fort Wayne girl behind “buddy benches” is heading to schools around the country – on posters.

French food services and facilities management company Sodexo recently announced they’ve selected Sammie Vance as the recipient of their Performance Zone program, which recognizes students working to improve their schools or communities through outstanding acts of service.

Young Sammie’s buddy benches fit the description.

The Haley Elementary School rising fourth grader last year created buddy benches, each one made from 400 pounds of recycled plastic bottle caps and lids. The idea behind them: When a student is lonely he or she can sit on the bench to let others know they need a playmate.

Samantha told NewsChannel 15 last year that she first saw the benches at a vacation bible school, and met with her principal to get them at the school.

Since, Sammie and her buddy benches have been featured on national programs around the country.

And her reach is growing.

Through its Performance Zone program, Sodexo will now share Sammie’s buddy bench story on posters that will be placed in more than 750 middle schools nationwide.

The company will also award Sammie $500 that she can donate to a cause of her choice.

Sammie’s choice? Two Fort Wayne Community Schools – Price and Weisser Park elementary schools – will receive funds to help them secure buddy benches of their own.

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