This article appeared in Casual Living magazine on December 19, 2014.
-- Casual Living, December 19, 2014
LARGO, Fla. - Indoor and outdoor casual furniture and accessories retailer Leader’s Casual Furniture recently donated a Friendship Bench to Bauder Elementary School. The company has partnered with Tiny Girl Big Dream’s (TGBD) Acacia Woodley to put an end to bullying and promote compassion and caring.
Born without complete arms, 12-year-old Woodley knows exactly what it feels like to be left out and not part of the normal group. “I wanted to create a place where a child can go when being bullied or having a bad day so others will know that child needs a friend and show support by sitting with them on the bench,” Woodley said.
The goodwill ambassador wasted no time in making her dream come true when she partnered with outdoor furniture manufacturer C.R. Plastic Products and helped design a colorful, Adirondack-style bench that serves as a happy place for all children.
“When we heard Acacia’s story we were totally behind it and knew it would be our way to give back to the community,” said Tami Newton, co-owner of Leader’s Casual Furniture. “We decided to start in our own backyard at Bauder Elementary where my son attends fourth grade.”
The bench, which is made of 100% recycled plastic and is weatherproof, durable and easily cleaned, is a colorful way for children to come together to promote peace and harmony. Leader’s donation includes the bench, an “I am amazing bracelet” for all 850 students and a special appearance by Woodley, who will speak to the students about friendship and supporting one another.
“Acacia’s goal is to put a bench at every school throughout the country and Canada and we are very proud to help her in achieving that goal,” Newton said.
Upon receiving the bench the school is encouraged to make friendship reports noting ongoing acts of kindness and forwarding them to TGBD.
“We appreciate Leader’s generosity and willingness to support this worthy cause and look forward to helping make Acacia’s dream come true,” said Lynn Jennings, school counselor at Bauder Elementary.
Leader’s Casual Furniture will utilize its 18 locations throughout Florida to sponsor and promote the Friendship Bench and assist any school or donor in obtaining the program.