Silica Brings Tiny Girl Big Dream Friendship Benches To Several FDL Schools

Fond du Lac, WI:  When the president of Silica For Your Home attends buying shows all over the country, he expects to see new products and bring new ideas back to the company.  However, at one of the recent shows, he met a very special young girl who has a huge heart and a Big Dream.

Tom Schneider recalls “I was attending one of the conferences at our buying show and I noticed on the agenda someone named Acacia “Tiny Girl” was going to be doing a presentation.  Imagine my surprise when this young girl takes the podium and steals the hearts of everyone in the audience” he said. 

Acacia nicknamed “Tiny” is the founder and owner of Tiny Girl, Big Dream. Acacia, now 15 years old, was born without complete arms.  Despite her differences, or perhaps because of them, intuitively knows what it feels like to be left out and not part of a “normal” group.  Many children and adults actually understand that feeling, having felt it often in their own lives.  But few have the big dream Acacia has.  “This girl captivated us with her story” said Schneider. “She was a victim of bullying and being left out.  Rather than shutting down, she took her experience and decided to make a change” said Schneider. “Her story is powerful.”

Acacia developed The Friendship Bench.  The Friendship Bench provides an opportunity for children to know they matter and that they have a great purpose in life.  That each and every one of them is amazing and incredible, and capable of accomplishing their dreams.  It allows children a place to go when they are feeling lonely, left out, or in need of a friend.    When a student notices someone on The Friendship Bench, it is their opportunity to put the spotlight on acts of kindness and friendship by including the child feeling left out.   It encourages them to be a friend to kids that otherwise could possibly turn to bullying or violence.  Acacia believes that by getting this message introduced at a young age in school, we will begin to see a brighter more vibrant world where kindness, compassion, and humanity are recognized, appreciated and rewarded.   Alongside with the addition of the benches, children will be given bracelets with the saying “I Am Amazing” inscribed on them.  They will also be encouraged to fill out Friendship Reports; a report that is filled out when a student notices acts of kindness, caring, friendship or student leadership happening.  These reports will be publicized in the school that positive attention is put on positive behavior.

As Schneider thought about the Fond du Lac community, along with the help of the Fond du Lac Association of Commerce,  he made the decision to purchase 4 benches.  On Monday and Tuesday, January 23rd and 24th, Schneider, Acacia and a few of Silica’s staff members will be delivering benches to Waters Elementary, Rosenow Elementary, Friendship Learning Center and Roberts Elementary schools.  As the benches are being uncovered at the schools, Acacia will be speaking to the students at each school telling her story and encouraging the students to use the bench and be aware of children sitting on the bench.  In addition to the school visits, she will be giving a presentation for the Noon Rotary on Monday and will also be interviewed by several local radio stations.  Schneider is also hoping to have her speak to the students at St. Marys Springs Academy.  One of their students heard Acacia’s story a couple of years back and was able to raise enough money to purchase a friendship bench for their playground.

“We feel very strongly about her message and the positive change that she presents, so we have a full schedule for her while she is here”.  Parents of students in the listed schools are encouraged to discuss Acacia’s message with their children.  “This is such a huge opportunity for the community to look at one another differently, and like Acacia says, spotlight the goodness and random acts of kindness instead of violence and bullying” Schneider added.