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JMBHF Inclusive Playground Program

Inclusive Playground Program

In an effort to carry out the foundation's second goal to educate children on the power of kindness, JMBHF board members consulted various professionals who specialize in child development and researched many avenues.


One idea that was instantly brought to the table was the "Buddy Bench."  A young man named Christian, a student at the Roundtown School in York, Pennsylvania, first conceived this simple, yet brilliant, concept.  Christian's goal was to create a spot to eliminate loneliness and foster friendship on the playground.  In an attempt to send a message of inclusion and kindness he petitioned his principal to allocate a special bench as a meeting spot for children in need of a "buddy" or playmate.  Administrators in Christian's school embraced his idea and the first bench of its kind was erected at his school.  Similar "Buddy Benches" now grace playgrounds across the country.  It is our foundation's desire to bring one such bench to as many schools as possible throughout the country and world!

If you are a school or know of a school that would like to be nominated for a "Buddy Bench" or "Kindness Library," please download the application and send it to the foundation!

As a result of the prevalence of schools that already have built or installed a Buddy Bench on their playgrounds, the foundation felt it was important and necessary to offer an alternative "kindness gift" to schools that already have a bench at their school.  So, the second option for a gift for a nominated school is a "Kindness Library," a mobile bookcase filled with books that teach and highlight lessons in kindness.  In essence, we add a "kindness section" to the school library!  This mobile bookshelf is filled with quality mentor texts that will help foster and support beautiful friendships and kindness initiatives at the school. Some schools may choose to use the bookcase to create special "kindness corners" in their libraries, while others may opt to move the bookcase to different locations around the school building.

Not only does a gift of a "Buddy Bench" or a "Kindness Library" represent our foundation's goals, but it also aligns perfectly with the principles and core values sought in most every elementary school's social emotional curriculum.   These gifts represent and touch upon many values that we hope to instill in our youth, our future, such as respect, kindness, empathy, and inclusion.  The "Buddy Bench" or the "Kindness Library" will provide a concrete place for students to initiate inclusive behaviors while fostering friendships and reinforcing kindness.

The Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation is excited to provide a gift of one "Buddy Bench" and two "Kindness Libraries" each month to schools that believe in these types of tools to support inclusive behavior on the school's playground, inside the school building  and to supplement the school's social emotional curriculum.  The hope is that this gift will help to reinforce the school's culture of kindness and compassion.

Nomination Information and Qualifications:
  • Nominated schools may be public or private.
  • Nominations for The Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation School "Buddy Bench" and "Kindness Library" Gift Programs are accepted on a rolling basis.
  • The nominated school that is selected will be notified on the last day of each month.
  • Email your downloaded nomination forms to all 3 Emails:
*Enter "School Buddy Bench Nomination" or "Kindness Library"
into the Subject Line            
You may also mail your application to:       
School "Buddy Bench" and "Kindness Library" Gift Program
Attn:  The Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation
P.O. Box 428 
Dracut, MA 01826


Nomination Contents:
  • Nomination Specifics

  • Nomination Form (including detailed nomination)

  • Photo/Video and Media Waiver

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