The Rotary Club of Peterborough Kawartha went back to school on Thursday (October 18th) for a special reason: They presented a Rotary “Buddy Bench” to Roger Neilson Public School Principal Denise Humphries and the staff and students there.
It was Kawartha Rotarian Donna Geary and her son Nate Loch that initiated the program and St. Catherine’s Catholic Elementary School was the first recipient last year.
Ribbon Cutting of Rotary Buddy Bench at Roger Neilson School: (Left to Right) Nate Loch, Rotarian Donna Geary, Kawartha Club President Brian Prentice & Principal Denise Humphries
Nate shared candidly with the group his past experiences of both inclusiveness and exclusiveness in both elementary and high school—of being both the victim and the perpetrator of bullying.
“The Buddy Bench is something that I really wish I had growing up, as it’s meant to celebrate friendship with those we may not know and is a good social tool for the kids of Roger Neilson to combat the problem of bullying,” Nate says.
“By understanding one another, we find similarities we might not have found, and unlikely friendships can form from even the smallest of encounters,” he adds. “I hope that the Buddy Bench helps create some of these unlikely friendships and helps keep as a reminder that we all could be on that bench at one point in our lives.”
“We hope that the Buddy Bench provides an opportunity for students to foster new friendships, build empathy and reinforce inclusiveness,” adds Principal Denise Humphries.