Posted by Joan Kelly Arsenault on Sep 01, 2023
DG Lori has set aside DDF funds to support a district wide initiate to improve mental health.  This grant opportunity is to purchase "Buddy Bench/Happy to Chat Benches" to help decrease loneliness and supports well-being in children and adults.
A buddy bench or friendship bench is a seat in a school playground or area where a child can go when they want someone to talk to.  "Happy to Chat" benches encourage people to start conversations and talk to each other, rather than being isolated and sometimes lonely.
DG Lori has set aside $10,000 in matching funds for any club wishing to participate in this district managed grant.  The cost of a bench is $1000.  Just like any district grant, the club would put forth the initial $1000 and once the grant is complete, the club will receive $500 in reimbursement from District Designated Funds or DDF. 
There are 20 benches available to district clubs on a first come first serve basis.  Deadline to apply is OCTOBER 1th.  One bench per club will be reimbursed.  You can order either a Happy to Chat Bench or a Buddy Bench.  Happy to Chat Benches are appropriate for libraries or other public places and Buddy Benches are for schools.  If your club wishes to order more than one bench, that is ok, however only one bench will receive $500.00 in reimbursement from the grant and you will be responsible for the shipping costs. 
Benches have the Rotary International name and logo on them and will either say Happy to Chat or Buddy Bench.  Individual club logos will not be on the bench.  The color will be dark blue. 
To participate, email Joan at to make sure a bench is available. 
Benches take about 14 weeks to deliver and will all be delivered on a date to be set.  Pick up place will be in Peabody.  You will need to make sure your club is available to pick up the bench on that date.  You will receive information as to that date and place once arranged.