Thursday, July 24, 2014
My daughter, Little V, has a big heart. She is friends with everybody and works hard to make sure everyone feels included and loved. She and 7 other 2nd graders at her school even started a club with this very purpose. They founded the Buddy Club after hearing a bully prevention lecture in class. In the students’ own words, the purpose of the group is “to watch out for bullies, prevent fights, teach kids to stand up for themselves and look for kids that are sad”. To advertise this group, the kids made posters that are hung around the school, announced on the school intercom encouraging all to join the club, presented to each class the purpose of the club and made a link to our school website for parents and students to view. Because of this group, a “Buddy Bench” was ordered and placed on the playground so group members can help those at the bench. Any member of the Buddy Club will come to the aid of anyone in need. The group meets at least once a month over lunch to brainstorm techniques in helping on the playground. At the beginning of each new school year, the club will talk to the student body about how to be a buddy on the playground. This student led group is now a permanent part of our school. It was an amazing success. My daughter used it more than once. When Little V's friend "Mary" got a new best friend "Lexi", there was some conflict. Lexi did not like Little V and didn't want to play with her or let Mary play with her either. So, my Little V went and sat on the bench. Soon, fellow member "Carlos" came running up and listened to the problem. Then, they went together to talk to Lexi. With a neutral third party, the problem was quickly worked out. This is a way for kids to work their problems out on their own. This is kids supporting each other. It is amazing! The counselor wrote up what they did and submitted it for a Kansas Promising Practice Award. We won! We were then entered into the national award and we were selected as a 2014 Promising Practice award winner by the Character Education Partnership. This is what she wrote about the impact this has had on our school so far after just one year: "Students are becoming less worried about specific clicks of friends and are becoming more interested in helping out others. For example, instead of fighting over the soccer ball at recess, they are learning to teach each other how to play soccer. Because of this club, office referrals are going down as students are spending their energy on helping instead of hurting others. The more students see they have the peers on their side, they will feel less worried about recess, bullying and friendships; this will then lead to fewer students missing school (an increase in attendance rate) Daily, students are asking to join the buddy club and are excited to be a part of this movement. There for a strong sense of community and pride is being created in our school. " That, my friends makes this Mama so proud. She has already said she can't wait to plant a new Buddy Club at her next school. I can't wait to see her making a difference anywhere we go.