Local boy helps stop bullying at school through a "Buddy Bench"

A fifth grader in Richmond wants to make sure no other child at his school has to ever sit alone on the playground or in the lunchroom.

He encouraged school leaders to develop a buddy bench, so that students would never feel lonely. Andrew Etuokwu came up with the idea so that anyone and everyone playing outside at Adolphus Elementary has someone else to play with.

He's so happy that his school let his dream come alive!

"It was nice because they loved my idea, and so I felt good about it!  I chose where it is right now.  I think it's a good spot, because it's right where everyone can see it," says Andrew. 

Andrew's mother sure is proud of him and remembers the day he realized he wanted to make a difference.

"He had been outside and saw a friend that people were shunning - didn't want to play with him and he was emotional about it - he said - we have to do something!  I'm glad we're in Lamar CISD, where character counts and kindness is so important.  Let's go speak to a teacher in the RAK Club," explains Ify Etuokwu, Andrew's mother.

The idea fits in perfectly with the club that Andrew has been a member of the last three years called RAK, which stands for Random Acts of Kindness.

Fifth grade teacher, Brooke Howard, started it three years ago.

"I was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago, and this school and community wrapped their arms around me, and I never could have never done it without them.  The big word I had was joy - spread joy, choose joy, and it just sort of picked up, and then we realized joy stands for 'just offer yourself' and that's what we do - to help in anyway needed, and Andrew is a founding member," smiles Ms. Howard.

"Kindness treats people the way they want to be treated - like the golden  rule," states Andrew.

His friends in the RAK club, agree!

"I think it's a great idea, because it can help people start making new friends and they can find more people to play with," says RAK Club member and student, Austin Huddleston.

Lily Veazey says she always has a plan in place, when it comes to spreading kindness.

"I ask people if they want to play with me, when they're on the buddy bench.  It makes me feel happier, because I'm helping someone, and it's nice," says Lily. 

Plus through their kindness club, they leave sticky notes all over school for students and teachers and send thoughtful cards to children at local hospitals.

They also make sure students always have someone to talk to in the cafeteria.

"We want to make a shift in our world where we love first and always want people to feel important! Our club is Kindergarten through fifth grade. The students just fill out an application, and we have meetings once a month. We have officers, and it's neat to see the kids become good adults because this is something that will take them much further than grades or anything else, and that is to spread kindness, so I'm very thankful to be a part of it and thankful that that kids love it too," smiles Ms. Howard.

For more info on RAK, click here.