Amarillo middle schooler working to make sure no student plays alone

Amarillo middle schooler working to make sure no student plays alone
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Bradley Dalpaz / Source: KFDA
Bradley Dalpaz / Source: KFDA

One Amarillo middle schooler has a plan to make sure no child is left without friends this coming school year, but he needs your help.

Bradley Dalpaz is an incoming 7th grader who loves gaming, engineering and the outdoors.

But when he was younger, he often had no one to play with at recess.

He hopes starting a "Buddy Bench" program at his old elementary school, Pleasant Valley Elementary, will make sure everyone has a friend on the playground so they will never be lonely.

If you sit on the buddy bench, Bradley says the rules are:

"The first person you come across you have to say yes to them if they invite you [to play]. So you could have a friend to play with for recess or anything that involves being outside."

Bradley and his older sister Marisah said they wished something like that had been there when they were students
   
"I think that it'll really help a lot of the kids, because I know growing up here myself that not all the kids are really all that social," she said. "So it kind of puts you in the spot that if you're not social, too, then you don't have anyone at all."

When Bradley first came across the idea, he was instantly hooked.

"He pestered me for the whole school year last year, 'mom we need to try it, mom I want to try it,'" said Bradley's mom, Danielle. "I said, 'you know what, summer's coming up, let's look into fundraising, kind of see what we can come up with,' and that was it."

The next day, Bradley came to her with a detailed plan, and a goal of making sure no one at his old school was alone on the playground.

"It helps to promote friendship and exterminate loneliness."

When asked why this is important to him, he said "well I don't want anyone to be lonely."

Bradley been working with Rockwood Furniture and ACR Trophy through the American Quarter Horse Museum to make sure the bench has just the right design and labeling.

"[It's] a curved conversation bench, which it's curved enough so it looks like it would hug you," he said.

Bradley is working now to raise enough money to install a bench not only at his school, but more schools and parks around Amarillo.

Every bench will have the same goal.

We asked Bradley if he thinks buddy benches will help people meet and make new friends.

"Of course," he said. "That's what the buddy bench is for."

One bench will cost about $4,000 for wood, paint, concrete and other supplies.

To help him reach his goal, you can donate to his GoFundMe.

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