28 Apr

TEPF Presents a Grant to Vista Heights School

April 28, 2017

Vista Heights School Students “Buddy” Up for Belonging

The Educational Partnership Foundation Funds Student Leadership Team Buddy Bench Project
Calgary, AB – Vista Heights School students will soon benefit from a ‘Buddy Bench’ with funding provided by The Educational Partnership Foundation.

The school’s student leadership team was concerned when they saw the results of the 2016 Tell Them From Me survey related to Sense of Belonging.  Survey participants rated their feeling of acceptance and being valued by their peers and by others at their school as much as 5% lower than the Canadian norm.  This did not sit well with the leadership team.  Team members agreed something needed to be done to foster a strong sense of belonging and inclusion at Vista Heights School – thus, the Buddy Bench Project.

A Buddy Bench is a meeting place; a place to meet your friends and to make new friends.  It is a way to promote a sense of belonging.  Grade 6 student and leadership team member Julienne states, “I know from experience it is hard to make friends.  I wait for friends to come to me.  The Buddy Bench is a way to help that.  Also, if you want to help people you can look to the Buddy Bench and make new friends.”

“We found the value in this project to be centered around the education that the students will be providing for each other surrounding the need and use for the Buddy Bench.  It is a great project that should benefit the entire school”, commented Kevin Strybosch, Programs, Grants, & Special Events Coordinator for The Educational Partnership Foundation, or TEPF.

The goal of this activity is for the students to have an understanding of ways they can reach out to include everyone at Vista Heights School.  The Buddy Bench is a physical representation of the desire to be inclusive of everyone.  “Loneliness is high these days and the bench will go a long way in providing social connections and friendships.” explains Din Ladak, President & CEO of TEPF.  The Buddy Bench Project is one way of addressing the loneliness, alienation and anxiety some students may feel.

Back in the school, the student leadership team is busy working on researching types of benches and collaborating with CBE Facilities to plan the installation of the bench. Students will share plans for the Buddy Bench project with school students, staff and parent community through posters, blog posts and an assembly.  The $750 from TEPF, together with funds raised by student fundraising initiatives in the school will go toward the purchasing of a Buddy Bench and the installation of the bench in the school grounds.

For further information:

Vista Heights School Principal, Michelle Harvey, 403-777-6000 ext. 2123 or

Supervising Teacher, Denise Calvert 403-777-6000 ext. 3005