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Buice student contributes Buddy Bench to campus

September 11, 2018

For Mia Lerma, wanting to do something for her fellow students was nothing new.

Lerma, 10, recently contributed a Buddy Bench to Buice Elementary School as a way to help students form friendships on the playground.

“When I first started coming here, I saw a lot of kids that didn’t really have anybody to play with and nobody would really notice them and ask them to come play, so I wondered if they saw them sitting here … they would actually come to here and ask them to maybe be their friends to come play,” said Mia, who is in fifth grade.

Mia said she hadn’t seen anything about Buddy Benches before, but she started thinking of ways to become friends. The bench will be placed on the school playground.

“You know how people don’t really like standing, so I just figured they could just come sit and relax,” she said.

Mia said it makes her feel proud of herself to contribute the Buddy Bench to her school. The bench is painted purple and has the saying “Friendship … begins here!!” painted on it. It also has handprints of her and one of her sisters.

“I didn’t really know what I could accomplish, or achieve, so since I painted this and I’m really happy that people will start to get to know each other,” Mia said.

She said it’s important for students to get acquainted with each other, because you never know.

“… Once in their life they might need somebody and you really need to be there for them,” Mia said.

Mia’s mother, Vera, said a project like the Buddy Bench is routine for her eldest daughter. She has two other daughters, 4-year-old Ali and 1-year-old Brisa Lerma.

“I think it’s a great thing. It’s nothing out of the ordinary for Mia. She’s got a big heart. She’s always thinking about others before herself,” Vera Lerma said. “That’s just Mia. That’s just how she is.”

To help out, Vera said she called around to find who could help Mia with the project. Vera’s uncle, Jimmy Chavez, was the one who pitched in.

Assistant Principal Jessica Rickman said she thinks the Buddy Bench is great.

“Mia is a great student. She is friendly, helpful and compassionate toward others, so it’s not surprising at all that she had this idea. I think it’s great. It will be a great way for students outside in all the grade levels to be able to use it and form friendships and just hang out outside,” Rickman said.

She added that there was no seating outside before.

“So this is actually going to be our first bench outside. We have the playground with, of course, all of the equipment on it but no benches; nowhere to sit; and there are students who will stand around by themselves, so having a bench will teach them to sit together and form friendships,” Rickman said.

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