TODAY   |  December 07, 2013

A second grader’s cure for playground loneliness

Christian Bucks felt bad for his lonely classmates on the playground, so he came up with the idea of a “buddy bench.” It’s a place where kids can feel welcome. TODAY’s Erica Hill interviews Bucks, his mother and his principal.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> a trip to germany he saw something in an elementary school there and he immediately knew it was something he wanted his own school to have back at home. it's called a buddy bench . it's a place for a lonely kid to go to tell other kids he is looking for a friend. christian, his mom allison, and his school 's principal, matt miller , are all with us on the buddy bench at roundtown elementary in york, pennsylvania, that christian helped to get there. nice to have you all with us. good morning.

>> good morning to you, erica.

>> christian, tell us a little bit about this bench . you saw it in germany. how does it work for kids on the playground?

>> if they are feeling lonely and don't have anything to do, they go sit on the buddy bench and someone will come and ask if they want to play or talk with that kid.

>> so have you seen it? have you seen it working at your own school there? the bench that you're sitting on this morning, do you see kids using it?

>> well, it's not actually like on our playground. like it's not out yet. so like kids can't use it yet. but after the weekend, they can start using it.

>> this is pretty exciting, because not only will kids at your school have a place to go, but you've inspired people across the country, christian. what does that feel like?

>> really good. i'm just really happy that other schools across the country are -- might get -- might have a buddy bench at their school .

>> it's a nice way to think of others and to help fill their buckets, if you will. now it's something we talk at my southern's elementary school , making sure you're doing something good for other people. alison, when christian came to you with this idea, what did you think?

>> he honestly actually came to the school with it first once he saw it. he thought that he should tell his teacher about it because he thought it was a really neat thing. he received encouragement from her and then decided to talk to mr. miller about it. we received such positive feedback from them, that they were really the ones that saw it through.

>> principal miller, as i understand it, matt is a pretty popular kid there at school . he's got a lot of friends. so when he brings you this idea, now to see how it's gone viral, this must make you really proud, not only of christian but also of your school community.

>> absolutely. that hits it on the head, erica. we try to set up an environment where the kids feel safe and comfortable and they can bring ideas like this. we call it a hope and dream and christian is your made a hope and dream and we made it come a reality and we try to empower the students. it's through classroom philosophy.

>> at other schools around the country, what is your dream of a buddy bench ?

>> that there will be a lot of friendships made and other kids will just have a friend to play with.

>> wow. that is a great hope and a great dream to have and it looks like you are starting to process for kids across the country. nice to have you all with us. christian and allison bucks and principal matthew miller , thank you again.