gifts for good

Novembers Gifts for Good Recipient: Sammie Vance

November 8, 2021

Sammie Vance is working to spread kindness in any way she can. Her journey began back in 2017 when she learned about "Buddy Benches," special places where kids can sit if they're feeling lonely to let others know to reach out. Sammie loved the idea, and thought there was only one way to make it better. By collecting old bottle caps, Sammie was able to get her community involved in the effort, recycle, and save money! Her project was a HUGE success - she was able to collect enough bottle caps to put in THREE benches at her school. Since then, Sammie has helped raise bottle caps and get Buddy Benches installed throughout her home state of Indiana, the country, and the world.

How did Sammie come up with the idea for Buddy Benches and what are they?


Sammie heard about the buddy bench concept at summer camp when she was going into 3rd grade. A buddy bench is a place where shy or lonely kids can go sit and it signals others that they are in need of a friend. Sammie wanted these for her school and decided to do it by collecting plastic caps and having them recycled into buddy benches. She calls it a 3 in 1. Involving community, Helping the environment and creating friendships. Each buddy bench is made out of 200 lbs of recycled plastic caps and lids. She has helped over 200 groups get buddy benches to date.


As the author of, Inspire The World: A Kids Journey to Making a Difference, what is the best piece of advice that Sammie has for kids?

Sammie says “You don’t have to be an adult to make a difference, you can be a kid too! Start small, I started with just one cap. One small thing can make a big difference."

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