In celebration of their 45th anniversary, the REACH Community and Youth Agency (CYA) decided to purchase five buddy benches and donate them to the Half Hollow Hills Central School District, which will place them in the recess areas of each of the district’s elementary schools.
The buddy bench is a simple idea designed to help foster friendships. Students who are interested in finding someone to play with during recess can sit on the bench, while other students are taught to check the bench from time to time to see if there is someone sitting there that they can invite to join them on the playground.
“As we discussed how to celebrate our 45th anniversary serving the children, youth and families of Half Hollow Hills, we thought that instead of holding a gala fundraiser, wouldn’t it be nice to give something back to the district and its students?” said Roseann Miceli, executive director of REACH CYA. “We had heard about buddy benches during one of the district’s Sandy Hook Promise: Start With Hello programs, and thought they would make the perfect gift to support kindness and inclusion.”
The district plans to educate students and lunch monitors on how the buddy benches work, and teach them strategies on how they can use it to help make sure every student has someone to play with during recess.
Since 1972, REACH CYA has identified the concerns and needs of youth, parents and schools in Half Hollow Hills and Commack, and offered activities that develop positive attitudes, self-esteem and problem solving skills. Over 1,300 middle and high school aged students participate in their programs yearly, which include basketball, chess, volunteer opportunities and summer trips. REACH CYA also administers a New York State Licensed Before and After school Child Care program for elementary school age children in Half Hollow Hills, and offers a half day Pre-Kindergarten Program for 4-year-olds in Half Hollow Hills.
Miceli added, “These 45 years would not have been possible without the generous support of Half Hollow Hills and the Town of Huntington, so we are excited to celebrate our anniversary by giving back to the students we serve.”
Information supplied by the Half Hollow Hills school district.