Montgomery Magazine April/May 2017 : Page 14

county lines MONTGOMERY YOUTH RYAN AND JACK GOLUB WITH THEIR PARENTS ANNETTE AND ANDY AND YOUNGER BROTHER EVAN. BENCH WARMING How two brothers changed the culture at Jones Lane Elementary Story and photo by Sharon Allen Gilder Ryan explains, “We usually saw kids that were lonely so we just thought that if there was a bench, people could make new friends and they could have somebody to play with.” After receiving the principal’s endorsement, the brothers pitched their idea to the Parent Teacher Association, seeking the funds to cover the $900 for the bench and signage. “We were very happy that they agreed to pay for it,” Jack says. “The phrase ‘make a friend, be a friend’ we thought would be good to have on the bench because it has friend in it.” “The Buddy Bench is an open invitation for students to reach out to students who are signaling that they need someone to be kind or friendly to them,” Sample adds. School counselor Kristen Stevens, who has discussed the purpose of the bench with the students during weekly guidance classes, says it is important because it “spreads the word of kindness and including, not excluding. A child might feel sad or embarrassed and this gives them an outlet.” “Two young kids had an idea, met with adults to move on the idea, went through the proper channels to make it happen, and were able to create change in their own community,” Annette Golub says. Jack notes, “As Jones Lane Jaguars, we always try to be respectful, responsible and ready to learn. A part of being respectful means to look out for others and to be kind to everyone.” Ryan adds, “I hope it helps kids.” Jack and Ryan Golub are more than brothers. They are partners in building a community and encouraging kindness among their 480 schoolmates at Jones Lane Elementary School in North Potomac. Inspired after viewing a video about a “Buddy Bench” at a school in Pennsylvania, they initiated their bench campaign with a simple letter to their principal, Carole Sample. In their letter, fourth-grader Jack and first-grader Ryan explained, “If you are sitting on a Buddy Bench and other kids run by, they will see that person and they will want to include them. This idea helps kids to be caring and kind and to feel included.” Annette Golub says that after viewing the video her sons were “immediately intrigued and thought that many kids at their school could also be positively impacted by having a Buddy Bench. We always talk about being compassionate and encourage them to reach out to others that may be having a difficult time.” 12 // April/May 2017

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