Buddy bench brings students together at South Austin elementary school

- As the school year comes to an end chatter echoes through Cowan Elementary School down the halls and out on the playground.

The playground is a place that can be intimidating if you don't have anyone to play with.

"If you're feeling lonely you can go to the buddy bench," said Haley Freund, a rising fifth grader.

"It's like a regular bench that sits outside for kids who don' thave a friend to play with at recess," said Anna Deeb, 8.

The bench is a non-verbal way for kids to empower themselves. The school's PTA purchased the bench as a gift to the counselors which continues to give.  "Since we started it the types of interventions we had to do have decreased. This involves all the kids in the school," explained Michelle Pundt, the school's counselor.

Principal Debbie Warnken credits the counslors. "It's awareness and opportunity for both sides to be empathetic and that they need assistance in their own way they are reaching out," she said.

It's a life lesson on the playground that may not be in a textbook.

The bench will be shared for school years to come.

"It's making kids feel like they are included in many things and that makes school more fun," said Haley.

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