One School at a Time: Lincoln Elementary wins Martin’s grant

Updated: May. 25, 2021 at 5:23 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - This tough academic year just got a bit easier with the help of Martin’s Super Market’s One School at a Time program. This month, Martin’s presented Lincoln Elementary in St. Joseph, Michigan with a $1,000 grant.

The school will use the money to improve social skills on the playground with the installation of a “buddy bench.”

Recess is the favorite time of day for 11-year-olds Sydelle Wright and Wesley DeJong.

“I get to play my favorite sport and that’s football,” said Sydelle. “I get to run around, and I get a break from school. Well, not school, but learning.’

“You get to be outside,” said Wesley. “And I mostly like to be with my friends outside.”

Andria Ettinger, 3rd grade teacher

“At Lincoln Elementary, we’re all about getting kids as much physical activity as well as pushing our academics,” said Andria Ettinger, a 3rd grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary.

Ettinger says recess time is more than a way to burn off energy. These kids need socialization; now more than ever.

“It’s really been an important time and this year we’ve even upped our outdoor time so that students are getting a little bit more recess time so it’s a great time for kids to be outside and be active,” said Ettinger.

Mrs. Ettinger was at a park recently when she spotted a buddy bench and thought it would make the perfect addition to the playground at her school.

With the help of Martin’s, Lincoln kids will soon have their own buddy bench.

Here’s how it works:

“Let’s say a kid is sitting on the buddy bench. They’re like sad, they’re lonely they don’t have someone to play with. Then someone can come over and be like, ‘Hey, do you want to play with us?’ And they would be like, ‘Sure’ and then they would have someone to play with,” explained Owen Hudak, Lincoln Elementary 3rd grader.

“The buddy bench is a great idea because if you don’t have a buddy or a friend, you just go over and sit on that bench and someone will notice you and they’ll go over there and ask you to play,” added Sydelle.

This concept fits right in with the school’s Positivity Project. It’s a new program this year that teaches the kids inspirational new words.

“I’m curious. I am present,” Owen shared examples.

“These words,” said Sydelle. “They just make you good people.”

Good people who make sure everyone feels included. The buddy bench should help.

“I think it’s great because then everybody will have someone to play with,” said Sydelle.

Martin’s Super Markets provides local schools with $1,000 One School at a Time grants. The grants are awarded each month during the school year. If you would like to nominate your school, click here for the entry form.

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