Girl Scouts' bench aimed at curbing bullies.
Special to AFN

Brownie Troop 3835 has earned its "Brownie Quest Journey" badge by completing a Take Action Project.

The Monte Vista Elementary second-graders voted to make a difference in their community by building and donating a “buddy bench” to their school playground.

“They identified a problem in their community (bullying at recess) and brainstormed a solution,” said Heather Sapp, an attorney with the local law firm LegalForce RAPC and the mother of Brownie Amber Chen.

“One of the girls had read a book about a buddy bench, which is where kids can go if they're sad on the playground and need a friend,” Sapp explained. “They figured out a plan to get it accomplished, pitch the idea to their principal and when she said yes, they would have a dad do most of the carpentry, although they helped sand, hammer, and paint and executed this project from start to finish.”

The work was so well done it took Principal Suzanne Ramundo off guard.

“She asked them if they were sure they were really just second graders, because their presentation in which they pitched the idea was so polished she could have mistaken them for fifth graders,” Sapp said.

The girls are donating the book that talks about the bench, titled “The Mystery at Palace Street School,” to the school library.

The bench will be on display in the Monte Vista library all this week, and the librarians will be reading the book to the classes during library period to introduce them to the concept. The Brownies will also be on the morning announcements all week about the bench and the same reason behind it/

The bench is scheduled to be placed on the playground next week.

The troop consists of Finley Bowen, Gloria Chair, Amber Chen, Ellie Cicchillo, Claire Cino, Kennedy DeBeau, Mia Gonzalez, Brooklynn Griffin, Mia Magdziarz, Londyn Medders, Rylie Pacheco and Kendyl Taylor

Jopining Sapp as their leader are Amber Cicchillo, an aide at Monte Vista; Brandy Cino; and Kari Taylor, a staff member at Playworks, a local anti-bullying organization focusing on school playgrounds. Lisa Kobus, another Brownie mom, helped to spearhead the effort until she and her family moved to Southern California earlier this month.

The project took several months from start to finish. The girls began the brainstorming and preparing the presentation in November. The building took place in January and February, with the painting in February and March.

“The girls executed the project with help from their leaders, but it was truly ‘girl led,’ Sapp said.

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