FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — Sammie Vance had an idea for a bench at her school four years ago. Now, she’s seeing national attention for it.
"I never knew that I would get anywhere near this from when I started the Buddy Bench project," Sammie said.
Sammie’s benches are made out of recycled bottle caps. They’re designed to be a place where kids who are looking for a buddy can sit.
BYU TV’s "Operation Awesome" series came to Fort Wayne and recorded an episode with Sammie. They even helped bring a Buddy Bench to Promenade Park.
Sammie's friends and family watched the episode together last week.
"I hope this show inspires people and inspires them to make a difference in their community, because in my opinion, kindness is contagious, and one small thing can make a big difference," Sammie said.
Sammie’s story, and her Buddy Benches, continue to spread. She says she’s heard from people around the world who want to follow in her footsteps.
"I’ve also had people that have messaged me and told me, ‘You inspired me to start my own project revolving around helping the environment or revolving around kindness.’ So all of it just kind of all out motivates me as well," Sammie said.
Heidi Vance says there’s no limit to what the future holds for her 12-year-old daughter.
"Mayor, President, who knows? One thing for sure is she’ll touch lives and continue to do so and hopefully inspire a lot of people," Heidi said.
And Sammie’s still looking forward. She plans to spend her time on other environmental and kindness-based projects.
"Something I like to say is, you don’t just have to be an adult to make a difference. You can be a kid too," Sammie said.
Sammie has also been writing a book called "Inspire the World," which she will release in August.
Heidi Vance also says she is impressed with how much confidence and growth she’s seen from Sammie over the past few years.
For more on Sammie's journey and projects, visit Sammie's Buddy Bench Project.