Buddy Bench put in at Mid-Michigan school to help students make - WNEM TV 5

Buddy Bench put in at Mid-Michigan school to help students make friends

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SAGINAW TOWNSHIP, MI (WNEM) -

A Mid-Michigan school is doing what it can to make sure even its shyest students don't get shied away by their classmates.

Their little change is making a big difference for kids having trouble fitting in.

Payton Colley loves to play on the slides and monkey bars, but on her first day of school last year she sat on a bench alone at recess. She didn't know anyone at her new school.

"I saw Payton sitting out on a bench all day by herself and it was sad," said Brian Wolpert, fire inspector for Saginaw Township.

He is the school liaison fire instructor. He told Payton's mom about her rough first day.

"I mentioned to to my family and my sister in Minnesota sent me a news report link explaining about a Buddy Bench," said Karen Redmon, Payton's mom.

Redmond thought it was a great idea and called the principal of Westdale Elementary School.

After a year of planning there is a new Buddy Bench on the playground.

The way the bench works is pretty simple. If someone is sitting on it alone the students are taught to come up and ask the person to play with them.

"I think it's cool," Payton said.

Payton hopes it helps other kids make new friends, especially if they're new to the school.

"I've had my fair share of watching Payton stand off to the site and within the last year she's become really outgoing. It's great to see as a parent," Redmond said.

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