Top of the Morning, May 15, 2019

Top of the Morning, May 15, 2019

Champaign West Rotary's Buddy Bench Project is off to a rousing start.

On Tuesday at Robeson and Booker T. Washington elementary schools in Champaign, dedication ceremonies played out.

More are on tap this week at Stratton, Garden Hills and Bottenfield. On May 30, Kenwood unveils its bench.

"Because of the continued interest," said Champaign West Rotary's CATHY RECTOR, the organization has "decided to continue making Buddy Benches over the next few years as one of our community service projects. In this day of bullying, what better way to build love, kindness and inclusiveness in our community?"

The benches — painted in colors unique to each school with plaques attached — are meant to "eliminate loneliness and foster friendship on the playground." Better yet, the kids had a hand in their production by collecting the 1,600 pounds of plastic caps and lids that were turned into eight benches at Green Tree Plastics in Evansville, Ind.

"They had a sense of ownership and pride," Rector said.

At Dr. Howard, the response was so good that enough material was collected to make two benches. Now comes the hard part: waiting.

Those benches will be dedicated when the new school opens its doors in a couple years.

"Collecting the caps and explaining to the kids what the caps will be used for is a great way for them to get involved," Rector said. "The kids are able to show others and be proud of what they have accomplished."

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