february nominee

Max Spector, Gabriel Mandal, Emma Bennett, and Brandon Pieczka

Building Friendships on the Buddy Bench

Remember grade school recess? It can be tough for some kids and a breeding ground for bullying. So four 4th graders from Lincolnwood School District 74 decided “Buddy Benches” were one way to help build more friendships, tackle bullying and teach empathy during recess.

Max Spector, Gabriel Mandal, Emma Bennett, and Brandon Pieczka read about the Buddy Bench Program, a national movement to eliminate loneliness and foster friendships, and presented a proposal to the school board (with the help of their teacher) to add Buddy Benches throughout the District 74 campus. The students successfully secured approval and funding for eight benches.

Now, if a student has no one to play with during recess, he or she will sit on the “Buddy Bench” and a fellow student will sit on the bench or invite the student to join the recess activities.

The benches have become a great opportunity to build more friendships and meet new classmates. Max, Gabriel, Emma and Brandon have decided that the more friends you have around you, the less a bully will be able to “act like a bully.” And they’ve helped make recess more fun.

january spotlight

When Lincoln Park resident Dennis Shea retired from a lengthy career in sales and management with Hershey Foods, he knew he needed more than golf clubs to get him through retirement…read more

april spotlight

Remember someone that inspired you as a child? Meet Mr. David Fox, Oak Lawn resident and Boy Scout Troop Leader 788 volunteer. Mr. Fox joined the scouting family in 1958 when he first became…read more

july spotlight

Gabriella Frank, an incoming seventh grader, started a program called “Books by the Beach” to help collect books and school supplies and donate them to less fortunate…read more

february spotlight

Remember grade school recess? It can be tough for some kids and a breeding ground for bullying. Four 4th graders from Lincolnwood School District decided “Buddy Benches” were one way to help…read more

may spotlight

Amanda Martinsen is a 5th grade teacher who designed and implemented a school-wide project where students to learn about physical and emotional conditions of disabled children…read more

august spotlight

Mrs. Tamara Polakowski, a 1st grade teacher at Madison Elementary in Lombard, goes above the call of a teacher’s duty by education outside of a textbook…read more

march spotlight

Imagine hearing the words “Down syndrome” as a new parent. Where would you turn? Bill and Dawn Buckley of Dyer, Indiana turned to the Down Syndrome Association of Northwest Indiana…read more

june spotlight

Gayla Smith is a military mom of two members of the United States Navy. Each year her and her husband host a backyard BBQ to simply raise money for Building for America’s Bravest…read more

september spotlight

When Cathleen Aquino isn’t working as a NICU nurse, she volunteers with Children’s Oncology Services improving the life of children diagnosed with cancer…read more

rewarding great individuals

Each month, meatheads will select one person who exemplifies the company’s standards of determination, hustle & hard work. If you know someone who demonstrate the meatheads values, please let us know!