Southern Indiana girl spreads friendship with Buddy Benches - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Southern Indiana girl spreads friendship with Buddy Benches

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NEW WASHINGTON, Ind. (WDRB) -- A little girl in New Washington, Indiana is on a mission to make sure no one is left out.

Peyton Jones is spreading kindness with one "Buddy Bench" at a time.

Recess at New Washington Elementary is a chance to spend a little time outside with friends, but 8-year-old Peyton noticed not everyone had a friend. "I want them to have somebody to play with. I don't want them to feel like that," Peyton said.

So she decided to do something about it. The 3rd grader thought her school needed a "Buddy Bench," something her mom had told her about. 

"When you don't have anybody to sit with on the playground, you sit on the Buddy Bench and other kids come over and ask if you want to play with them," said Peyton.

It's a place to sit that brings kids together to feel more included.

"Especially once you get to 2nd, 3rd grade, that's really when you start seeing a lot of that in the unkindness and the way they're treating -- it might not be bullying, but it's being unkind to each other, so it's a great time to start," said New Washington teacher Heather Barry.

To raise the $500 needed for the bench, Peyton made and sold sugar scrubs. "Peyton's Creations" was born and with each dollar earned, she did a "Peyton Project" which gives back. 

"Because you want other people to treat you the way you're going to treat them: nicely," said Peyton.

She set out to make and sell 50 sugar scrubs, but demand was so high she made 200. She reached her goal and inspired her principal that one bench was not enough.

"My principal matched all my money, and I could get two Buddy Benches," she said.

The benches were installed last spring and teachers at New Washington have already seen a huge difference.

"It's a good place when I see a student alone I say 'hey, remember the Buddy Bench,' and they'll go over and sit and wait for a friend," said Barry.

The bench gives Peyton pride every time she spots it, but seeing it empty is an even better feeling.

"If somebody's sitting on it, it makes me kind of sad, because they don't have anybody to play with, but when nobody's on it, then it makes me kind of happy, because everyone has someone to sit with," said Peyton.

Peyton's kindness is spreading at her small town school.

"Last year we sold candy canes and used that money to donate to the fires in Nashville so I think that spread to their kids thinking about things they can do," said Barry.

Peyton is now on to her next project: a little free library outside her school. To find out how to donate, go to "Peyton's Creations" on Facebook

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