Miriam Terdina and Ellie Hagen, fifth-graders at Rosa Parks Elementary School on Redmond Ridge are finishing their junior level as members of Girl Scout Troop 40382.
They noticed some kids were playing alone at recess and wanted a way for them to find friends to play with and have fun.
Terdina and Hagan introduced a Buddy Bench to their school, which allows kids to sit on it to let other kids know they want to play.
“If you see someone sitting on the bench, you can go over and play with them and be their friend,” Terdina said.
The girls volunteered 20 hours to the project and earned a bronze award — the highest award a junior Girl Scout can achieve. The process began last November.
“Our project had to be helpful and last permanently,” Terdina said.
Though the girls wanted to build the bench themselves, they had to choose from a list of benches approved by the Lake Washington School District to ensure safety.
After selecting the bench, it was up to Terdina and Hagen to raise the money to purchase it. The girls’ mothers posted about the need on Facebook and were surprised by the overwhelming support they received.
Terdina’s mother, Annamaria, said the original Facebook post didn’t ask for money specifically. The post only posed the question of what steps should be taken to raise the money needed to have the bench installed.
“It was amazing. All these parents thought this was such a great idea that they donated their own money to see it happen,” she said.
Through private and school donations, as well as help from the school’s vice principal, they were able to raise the funds needed to install the bench.
The bench was installed in late May but the official plaque to signify the buddy bench is still in the process.
Terdina and Hagen have informed other students about the Buddy Bench through morning announcements, but some students still don’t know what the bench is or how to use it.
They are planning on creating a video to be shown to the entire school at the beginning of next school year, which will explain the Buddy Bench’s purpose.
“We’ve decided that it’s not the official Buddy Bench until we have the plaque,” Hagen said.
Terdina and Hagen believe kids will really like the Buddy Bench. They have already seen a few kids use it to make new friends.
“I think people will really like the Buddy Bench. A lot of other schools have them and they work really well,” Terdina said.