Posted by William Reilly on May 15, 2024
When Irene Cowdell first heard about a new Rotary initiative called “Buddy Bench/Happy to Chat Bench,” she exclaimed to her fellow Rotarians, “I know exactly where Lynn Rotary should put a bench like this.” The Buddy Bench initiative is an effort to encourage conversations in the community. It is thought that if a person is sitting alone on a bench, another may also sit and then initiate a conversation. Cowdell, a retired Lynn Public School teacher and administrator, identified the Fallon School on Robinson Street as the perfect place for the special bench. Fallon houses an alternative Pre-K through grade five program that provides a variety of academic and therapeutic supports for its students. The school utilizes a strength-based behavior management system to help reintegrate its students back into regular programs.
“Our goal has always been the same,” said Fallon Principal Nancy Takis-Conway. “We strive to create a positive learning collaborative that fosters respect and compassion. I’m so thrilled to have this bench for our students. Many of our children have the perception that they’re not popular; have no friends and simply feel isolated. Our students know what to do now when they see one of their classmates sitting alone on Buddy Bench. They come over and engage in conversation or asked them to join in the game.”
Joining Principal Takis-Conway Wednesday were several Fallon teachers, along with Rotarians Steve Upton, President Jean-Marie Minton and Deputy Superintendent Deb Ruggiero.