Saskatoon

Saskatoon buddy bench video reaches 15 million people

CBC Saskatoon’s test of the buddy bench proves that nobody goes lonely at Willowgrove School, and the resulting video has warmed millions of hearts around the world.

Inquiries pour in from around the world

Buddy bench a big hit at Willowgrove School

Saskatchewan

5 years ago
1:23
Buddy bench a big hit at Willowgrove School 1:23

It begins with one lonely radio show host, but ends in a frenzy of friendly fun.

"I think it's pretty good." - Mathew Henkelman 

CBC Saskatoon's test of the buddy bench proves that nobody goes lonely at Willowgrove School, and the resulting video has warmed millions of hearts around the world.

Mathew Henkelman and his mother Kelley were guests today on Saskatoon Morning talking about the response to the buddy bench video. (CBC)
Mathew Henkelman was the first student at Willowgrove to approach Saskatoon Morning host Leisha Grebinski, a gesture of kindness that has now been viewed by more than 15 million people on social media.

Sever-year-old Mathew is taking the newfound stardom in stride.  

"I think it's pretty good," he said in an interview today with CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.

TOV BENCH BUDDY 2

(not applicable)

5 years ago
1:38
Leisha talks to Matthew Henkelman 1:38

Story warms hearts around the world

The viral video produced by CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning has generated much interest from news agencies, schools and parents around the world.

I thought, this is so cute.- Kelley Henkelman
"We've had countless calls and e-mails from all over the world asking about the benches, how we are using them, how we get them, all kinds of questions," said Willowgrove principal Shane Armstrong.
Students at Saskatoon's Willowgrove School sitting down on the buddy bench. (Leisha Grebinski/CBC )

The school certainly isn't taking credit for the idea. A quick scan of the internet reveals stories from schools across North America, dating back for years, where buddy benches have helped lonely children find new friends.

But there is something about the Willogrove buddy bench video that has people clicking, sharing and smiling. Among them is Mathew's mother Kelley Henkelman.

"I thought, this is so cute, everybody in Saskatoon will see it. I shared it on my Facebook."

"You always want kids to develop empathy for other students and to always make sure they are including other people."

with files from Saskatoon Morning

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