LIVERMORE — Summit Woodcock is doing her part to make sure that students in her schools have a mechanism to reduce bullying.
“It (bullying) happened to me,” she said. “I wanted to make sure it wasn’t as frequent, find a way so it didn’t happen to other kids.”
Summit is a fourth grade student at Spruce Mountain Elementary School in Jay.
On Monday, she spoke to students at the Spruce Mountain Primary School about bullying and the Buddy Benches.
“There are many types of bullying,” she said. “Some of them are verbal, social, physical and cyber bullying.”
She shared several examples of bullying and said there are lots of warning signs.
“Look out for your classmates,” she said. “If you think someone is being bullied tell an adult or teacher.
“I am hoping that the Buddy Bench will help make the playground a safer and happier place for kids.”
Summit shared several ways the bench could help her classmates and things that could be learned.
“The Buddy Bench will help improve self-confidence,” she said.
Other ideas Summit mentioned included wanting to help others, accepting everyone for who they are, interacting appropriately, resolving problems and controlling emotions.
“I hope you enjoy the Buddy Bench and you support each other and make new friends,” she said.
Summit is a member of the G.L.E.E. of Maine 4-H Club. For her citizenship project she solicited donations to purchase two
Buddy Benches; one for the Spruce Mountain Primary School, the other for the elementary school where she is now a fourth grade student. She sent a donation request letter to 15 area businesses.
In that letter she wrote, “Did you know that the U.S. Department of Justice states that a child is bullied every seven minutes in the United States?
“Buddy Benches will help kids that need a friend. It will help kids feel safe and feel like they belong.
“The playground can be a lonely place for some. The Buddy Bench will help kids play and have fun without being singled out.
“Do you know what it feels like to be left our or singled out? I do and I don’t like the way it makes me feel about myself … I want a safe place where kids can play and not feel this way. … school and the playground should be a place where kids feel safe, encouraged and to have fun with other kids!”
She further wrote, “If you are sitting on the Buddy Bench you are looking for a friend. When someone asks you to play, join them!
“If you are not sitting on the bench ask your classmate on the Buddy Bench to come and play and make a new friend today!”
Summit also shared four reasons to sit on the Buddy Bench:
- If you are new to the school
- If you want to make a new friend
- If you want to play something different than what your friends are playing
- If you are feeling left out on the playground
“I set a goal to raise the money in three weeks,” she said. “I got enough money on the very last day of the third week mark.”
Summit initially wanted to raise $1,500 to purchase and install the two benches. She raised $1,800 and will also be donating the book The Buddy Bench, written by Patty Brozo, to each classroom at the two schools.
Her mother, Jess Woodcock said, “Summit received two big donations of $500 each. There were several $20 to $25 donations and some $100 ones. There were a few individuals that donated.”
Summit is involved with hiking as an individual 4-H project. She hopes to climb Mt. Katahdin next summer. She is also working on a healthy cooking group project.
Citizenship is important to Summit because she gets to help her community and fellow classmates.
The 4-H pledge includes references to one’s head, hands, heart and health. Following are some of the life skills Summit hopes to learn and use:
- Head: Keeping records, planning or organizing and setting goals.
- Hands: Community service volunteering, responsible citizenship and leardership skills.
- Heart: Accept differences, be empathetic and nurture relationships.
- Health: Build character and self-esteem.