A pair of benches were unveiled at Avondale School in Grande Prairie in hopes to bring friends to lonely children. The idea of “buddy benches” for the playground came up in 2014 to create a more family-friendly environment. Staff and volunteers from the Parent Council and the school unveiled the additions on Tuesday evening.
“We just wanted to have an area for kids to bring awareness to the community for the people of the community and the people that use the facility after hours as well. Hopefully, we will have a little bit more use of the space as well,” explained Lareina Behnsen, Treasurer for the Parent Council.
The benches are also put in place to honour Phillip Dort. His children went to Avondale School and he passed away suddenly in September 2014.
“He was very involved with the school and helping fundraise for the school. Buddy Benches were just starting to come about to have a bench on the playground that if there is a child that needs a friend, then you sit on the bench.”
The volunteers were able to buy the benches for each side of the school through fundraisers and a $5,000 chunk of money from the City’s 2015 Parks Improvement Funding Program.
Photo via Michelle Rempel
(from left to right are: Andy Dort, Noah Dort, Liam Dort, Angie Dort, and Mackenna Dort)