Skip to content

A Buddy to All

Sammie Vance started a buddy bench project to help kids make friends.

A teenage girl stands in front of a yellow buddy bench and holds out a book with the title Inspire the World.

Courtesy of Sammie’s Buddy Bench Project,

Sammie Vance is the founder of Sammie’s Buddy Bench Project.

Sammie Vance was 8 years old when she heard about buddy benches. She loved the idea.

“If someone is lonely, they can go sit on the bench and others know to go up and ask them to play,” was how she explained it, according to her website. Buddy benches have been placed at schools, in parks, and in other public places. They’re not just for kids. Adults sit on buddy benches sometimes too. 

Sammie wanted to make sure there were plenty of buddy benches because she didn’t want anyone to feel lonely. So, in 2017, she started Sammie’s Buddy Bench Project. Her first goal was to get a buddy bench for her school. Six years later, the project has been a huge success, and it’s still going strong. 

Sammie’s Buddy Bench Project collects plastic lids and bottle caps and sends them to a company to have the plastic recycled and turned into a bench. It takes 400 pounds (180 kilograms) of lids and caps to make each bench. That’s a lot! But Sammie worked hard. She asked her classmates and local businesses to save their caps. She also posted on social media, asking people to send their caps. In two months, Sammie collected 1,200 pounds (540 kilograms) of caps, enough for three benches! And the caps kept coming.

Today, Sammie’s project is responsible for more than 100 buddy benches in the U.S. as well as many other countries!

Courtesy of Sammie’s Buddy Bench Project,

Buddy benches are good places to meet new and old friends at school.

Sammie keeps finding new ways to spread kindness. As part of her project, she shows schools how they can collect caps to get their own buddy benches. And in 2021, she wrote a book called Inspire the World, about how people can make a difference in their communities.

Fun Fact Icon

Did You Know

A group of seven children stand together wearing tee shirts that say be best.

Official White House Photo

Christian Buck (second from the right) may have been the first person to put a buddy bench in the United States.

In 2013, 7-year-old Christian Buck saw a photo of a buddy bench in Germany and asked his teacher and principal to put one in his school playground so kids would feel less lonely. That bench is thought to have been America’s first buddy bench. It wouldn’t be the last!

Thirteen Great Ways to Be Kind

Two children, one using a wheelchair and one standing, at a desk smiling and writing something.

© wavebreak3/

Sammie Vance spreads kindness by helping to put buddy benches in countries around the world. Here are some ways you can spread kindness every day!

  • Hold the door open for someone.
  • Let someone go ahead of you in line.
  • Do a chore without being asked.
  • Say hello to a kid who’s new in school.
  • Smile at people in the school hallway.
  • Call older family members and ask them how their day is going.
  • Make a get well card for someone.
  • Say please and thank you at home and when you are out and about.
  • Say a special thank you to the people who clean your school.
  • Give someone else a turn on the swings at the park.
  • Donate your old toys and clothes.
  • Have a bake sale or set up a lemonade stand and donate the money you raise.
  • Tell a friend they’re awesome.

Helping Others

A young woman wearing a microphone and holding sheets of paper looks forward and speaks.

Harry Murphy—Collision/Sportsfile (CC BY 2.0)

Many young people are changing the world in big and small ways. Autumn Peltier is working to make sure that Indigenous people in Canada have clean drinking water.

You can read Autumn’s story at Britannica!

Word of the Day Icon

Word of the Day


Part of speech:



: showing kindness toward other people

Definitions provided by
Merriam-Webster Logo
Game Icon


Word Search

See if you can figure out the word. Type your guess. If a letter circle turns green, it is in the right place. If a letter circle turns gold, the letter is somewhere in the word, but it’s in the wrong place. All other letters are not part of the word.


In Case You Missed It

Brazil’s National Museum has received a generous gift of more than 1,100 fossils.
June 6, 2024
A new book about life in ancient Egypt is based on a very old story.
June 2, 2024
A miniature poodle named Sage won top prize at the Westminster Dog Show.
May 30, 2024
The finalists for the 2024 Comedy Pet Photography Awards have been announced!
May 22, 2024