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Rotarians install St. Joe’s ‘buddy bench’

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The Rotary Club of Needham, along with help from Galway Masonry, recently installed a "buddy bench" at St. Joseph Elementary School. The bench is a simple way to eliminate loneliness and foster friendship on the playground. The teachers at St. Joe's have taught their students that if they see someone sitting on the bench that means they are feeling lonely or left out, and the other students should go talk to them and include them in their recess activity.

Charlotte Kelly, principal of St. Joe's, said, “The buddy bench is a wonderful addition to our school and just another way to continue our dialogue with children about being kind and a good friend to others. We were so appreciative when The Rotary Club of Needham approached us with the buddy bench donation.”

Marilyn Shaughnessy, wife of past Rotary Club of Needham president Ted Shaughnessy, first heard about the idea. On Thursday, December 7, St. Joseph Elementary School 2nd grade students gathered for a dedication ceremony during recess. At the dedication, Marilyn said, “It was wonderful to see all the kids raise their hands when asked if they have used the bench or helped someone on the bench.”

The Needham Rotary is a non-religious service club that is the local affiliate of the 1.2 million-member Rotary International organization that does good works locally and around the world. They meet every Tuesday at the Sheraton from 12 to 1:30 and guests are always welcome. For further information, visit

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