On Wednesday, Sept. 13, the Pima Unified School District took a few minutes out of the busy day to dedicate three Buddy Benches – one at each of its three campuses.
Last spring, a number of schools around the Gila Valley were able to obtain and dedicate Buddy Benches for their school campuses. A Buddy Bench is a bench, but it is also a monument. It exists on the campus to remind students of the importance of kindness toward others. When a student is feeling lonely, the buddy bench is there to remind them that everybody needs a buddy. The rule is that when you think of the Buddy Bench you should look for someone to be kind toward and somebody to engage with. If you don’t feel you can find them, you should take a seat on the buddy bench. When a student sees somebody on the buddy bench that is an invitation for them to engage with that person.
The Buddy Bench is a part of Patti Guerrero-Wren’s #SaveASkyler program, which she established to raise awareness among students of how bullying and isolation can devastate children. The goal is to reduce students’ social isolation and loneliness to prevent future incidence of teenage suicide, such as claimed the life of Patti’s son, Skyler Wren.
Sept. 13, 2018, would have been Skyler Wren’s 31st birthday, and it was with full knowledge of the importance of doing everything we can to prevent future tragedies that the benches were dedicated. The benches were obtained through the generosity of many within the Pima community.
Hopefully, through the attention given in the dedication assemblies and the constant reminders to be kind which the benches provide, bullying can be reduced and students will have a better experience at school facilitating their social, emotional, physical and academic development.