'Ae Kamali'i Friendship Bench

Līhu‘e- An anonymous person left an unassembled park bench made out of recycled plastic at the Kaua‘i Resource Center. Instead of throwing it away as illegal dumping, Tawna Bensaid and Shantelle Rego the County’s HI5 Recycling Specialists worked with Steve Soltysik, a man known in the community for his passion for education and helping the youth of Kaua‘i to assemble and present the bench to 'Ae Kamali'i preschool’s Ms. Penni Taketa.

The bench is made out of recycled plastic material and will act as the schools “Friendship Bench”. Students that feel they need a friend to play with can sit on the bench to let other children know that they’re looking for a buddy to play with.

The “Friendship Bench” or “Buddy Bench” idea is used worldwide at different schools and organizations to help children socialize and adapt to new environments.

“The County hopes that the bench can serve not only the emotional and social needs for the children, but also show what can be done when plastic is properly recycled in to something functional and long lasting,” said County Recycling Programs Coordinator Keola Aki.

For more information please visit the County’s Recycling website at www.kauai.gov/recycling or call our mainline at 241-4841. Help keep Kaua‘i green, reduce, reuse, and recycle!


Children on friendship bench

Pictured: Milo Veli Marcos, Jonah Pa, Kennedy Pereza, and Aila Okasaki

Teacher and children on friendship bench

Pictured: Ms. Penni Taketa, Milo Veli Marcos, Jonah Pa, Kennedy Pereza, and Aila Okasaki

staff on friendship bench

Pictured: Recycling Program Coordinator Keola Aki, Steve Soltysik, HI5 Recycling Specialists Tawna Bensaid and Shantelle Rego.

Friendship bench plaque

whole friendship bench