‘Our mission is to support children’

The Buddy Bench Aware Program has many aims, one of which is to give children valuable coping skills, including emotional confidence. 

If becoming successful in business requires mental toughness, then Buddy Bench Ireland might be helping foster the next generation of Irish leaders through its Buddy Bench Aware Program. 

Research has shown that anxiety is the most common psychological disorder amongst young people today, affecting up to 20% of teenagers and children. If left unattended, anxiety can have hugely detrimental effects on a young person’s development, potentially leading to underachievement in later life. 

Combating underachievement 

The Buddy Bench Aware Program is aimed at fighting anxiety. The Buddy Bench is a solid bench placed in schools where kids can take a moment to themselves. The Buddy Bench Aware Program is an initiative to build a more supportive culture in schools. It aims to show both staff and students the many reasons why a child might use the Buddy Bench, such as a student being new to the school, or having a problem with friends. 

The uptake among schools so far has been high. “The interest is phenomenal, and comes variously from individual parents, parents associations, teachers and headmasters, and even local community groups or donors that wish to sponsor the Buddy Bench,” says Buddy Bench’s Sam Synnott. However, she highlights the importance of the Buddy Bench Aware Program working in tandem with the physical bench itself for the initiative to be successful. “Our biggest challenge right now is getting the message across that without the Buddy Bench Aware Program and Workbook, which we have developed, the school is only installing another bench.” 

Building resilience 

While traditionally schools in Ireland have been focused on things like academics and sport, the Buddy Bench could help kids develop a host of other skills to benefit them later in their personal and professional lives. “Our mission is to support children to become emotionally confident and articulate. Through cultivating the core competencies of communication, mindfulness, and creativity, we are building emotional resilience and good mental health in our children,” says Synnott. “Children should learn the value of expressing oneself, the importance of difference and diversity in making the whole stronger, more creative, happier and healthier.” 

READ: 50 supports for new companies in Ireland.

Main image from Shutterstock.