SADD Club Above and Beyond: The Friendship Bench

By Melina Mangino and Dominique DeVivo

Soon, all eyes will be drawn to a new addition in our school courtyard. Under the direction of Ms. Shields, different activities are on the rise, including the yellow bench initiative. Shields expects an interactive SADD club to make its mark on Shenango not only this year but in the future as well.

 With the uprising active shooter preparations due to recent events in our society, the importance of developing positive relationships is paramount. Studies show most active shooters are outliers in their schools, so Shields thought the yellow bench would be the perfect way to help combat this feeling. The yellow bench promotes friendship with its bright yellow color.

“The whole Idea of the friendship bench is to promote friendliness throughout the school,” she explained.

   Shields first found the idea for the bench from a program that started in Canada. A company would donate a bright yellow bench to any school in Canada that reached out to them. Miss Shields contacted the program in hopes of getting a bench donated to our district, but unfortunately, they would not donate to an American school.

This was no setback for her, as she jumped right onto the next possibility, deciding to have our very own bench made. Our woodshop kindly donated a bench made in their shop, and some SADD club members were more than willing to donate their time to paint the bench a bright yellow.

This bench comes with hopes of providing a more positive environment in our school.

“The campaign is, yellow stands for hello,” Shields shared.

The bench has a welcoming meaning. If someone needs a friend, they are welcome to sit on the bench. If the bench serves its full purpose, hopefully another person will join them on the bench and spark a friendship.

As Ms. Shields shared, “The idea of even just looking at it or walking past it will hopefully just promote a more positive vibe. Maybe we’ll add yellow chairs in years to come,” she laughed.

The positivity doesn’t stop with the yellow bench; SADD club has so much more planned for the 2018-2019 school year. The club tries to do a different activity that the students can get involved with every month with a central goal of trying to promote awareness towards different causes. For example, Red Ribbon week in the month of October promoted not abusing drugs and alcohol, and SADD created a large awareness ribbon for students to sign outside of the cafeteria.  Mock accident is also coming up this year, but Shields said she doesn’t want to spoil too much, as she does change the activities up year to year.

“Every month is a different initiative,” said Shields, excited for the future of the Shenango SADD program.