The Rotary Club of Peterborough Kawartha presented its first Rotary Buddy Bench to St. Catherines Catholic Elementary School Principal Shelley Adair and the staff and students of the school.
Nate Loch, a former student there and the inspiration for the project, shared candidly with the group in the school library his past experiences in both elementary and high school regarding bullying—of being both the victim and the perpetrator of bullying.
Left to Right: Donna Geary, Rotary Club of Peterborough Kawartha; Donna’s son, Nate Loch; Past President Kim Winter; St. Catherines Principal Shelley Adair; Rotary Club President Len Lifchus.
Nate closed his powerful talk with this message:
“I am optimistic looking towards the future of the schooling systems, and I’ve seen the great effort undertaken from the school board to try and tackle the gigantic problem of bullying. But this is where it starts, and this is where it can end—right here in this school, in the playgrounds and everywhere in between.
"I hope that as teachers you can guide the students into using this bench to promote inclusiveness and to be open to the idea of socializing with people they aren’t familiar with, or they might not be comfortable around. I hope to see this project succeed, and if it were to change the perception of a single child, I’d say it will have been a success.”
We love this initiative, and hope it spreads to more schools.