Keene Elementary receives new friendship bench

| September 7, 2018

Keene Elementary recently received a friendship bench on their playground. Pictured standing in back from left: Braylon Karr and Ceira Stottsberry; Sitting: Ella Williams, Kayson Caswell, and Lucas Parsons.

KEENE – Children who are having a bad day don’t always know how to accurately express their feelings to their friends or teachers. But First Step Family Violence Intervention Services came up with a creative solution to let students express themselves to their peers.

The playground at Keene Elementary recently received a friendship bench, sponsored by the Keene Elementary PTO. Keene is the first school in Coshocton County to receive a bench.

“We talked about it a little bit with bullying,” said Robin Snider of First Step. “Children can’t always find the right words to express how they’re feeling sometimes.”

Students at Keene are invited to sit on the bench if they’re having a bad day, if they’re scared or nervous about something, if something is troubling them at home, or if they just need a friend. Snider challenged each of the students to sit and talk with any student sitting alone on the bench.

“There are many different types of losses,” said Vicki Laudick-Casey, director of First Step. “There can be the loss of a friendship, someone moved away, someone in the family who’s ill. This bench gives them an opportunity to empower themselves when they’re having a day where they need some support. The children can take control of their emotions and other children can reach out to them.”

The bench is also a way for adults and staff at the school to notice if one of their students is having a bad day as well.

“It’s really about life-learning lessons,” said Laudick-Casey. “They learn they don’t have to react to their emotions. They can express them in a different way.”

Other benches will be placed at the remaining schools throughout the county. Given-Dawson-Paisley Funeral Home sponsored two benches that will be placed at Sacred Heart and Coshocton Christian School. Hopewell PTO sponsored one for Hopewell, and the Presbyterian Church sponsored a bench for Montessori Preschool. There are still five benches that need sponsors. Each bench was made by the construction technology class at the Coshocton County Career Center.

To sponsor a bench, contact the First Step office at 740-622-9533. Sponsors will be recognized on a plaque mounted to the bench.

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Category: Education

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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