FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Sammie Vance is 11 years old and already has three years of experience explaining the Buddy Bench.
“A Buddy Bench is a place for when someone is lonely,” she begins.
“They can sit on the Buddy Bench and another person can come up to them and ask them to play and they could play together.”
Sammie has helped to bring about more than 150 Buddy Benches. The newest is at the PNC Playground at Promenade Park, which mean a lot of people will see it.
“So that means more friends can be made,” Sammie says. “And the word is getting spread.”
Sammie heard about the Buddy Bench more than three years ago at summer camp and went to work.
“I know I’ve needed it and I knew that so many other kids have needed it too.”
The Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation department expects parents to be sure the Buddy Bench is used safely, just like the other playground equipment.
“We rely on parents exercising good judgment with their children and keeping an eye on their kids and watching who they’re interacting with in all of our parks,” says Megan Butler of Riverfront Fort Wayne.
“We have 87 parks. Most of them have benches and so we hope that parents are keeping a good eye on their kids.”
Each bench is made from 200 pounds of recycled plastic caps from bottles or tubes.
People still send the caps to Sammie after she’s received national attention.
“I still get caps to this day, which is pretty awesome. because I’m like, ‘Oh, this is from a new state.’ But yeah. I would recommend you find a group that’s collecting near you or help get a group started.”