Sammie’s Buddy Benches to be Featured on National TV Show, City Hosts Virtual Watch Party


Fort Wayne, Ind. (WANE) – The City of Fort Wayne announced that last August TV crews followed 12-year-old Sammie Vance as she worked to bring her Buddy Bench project to Fort Wayne parks, and the result will premiere to a national television audience on April 7 at 8 p.m.

BYUtv’s “Operation Awesome” will feature Sammie, an eighth grade student at Blackhawk Middle School, and her project Buddy Bench on the April 7 episode, the city announced. Also featured prominently is Promenade Park, the city’s newest park and part of the ongoing Riverfront development project.

In addition to cable and satellite outlets, “Kindness Counts” can be viewed live for free on or the BYUtv app. After the April 7 airing, the episode will also stream for free on the BYUtv app.

BYUtv episode description:

“Kindness Counts” – Operation Awesome ventures to Fort Wayne, Indiana to meet 11-year-old Sammie, creator of Sammie’s Buddy Bench. Sammie’s goal is to fight against loneliness by installing friend benches in schools. Sammie and the team come up with the idea of ​​installing one of Sammie’s benches in the city park and raising awareness in the whole community about the importance of plastic pollution and recycling!

“I was honored to be featured and happy the show came to Fort Wayne,” Sammie said. “It was an amazing experience and I can’t wait for everyone to see the hard work we put in and the fun we had. The title of the episode is perfect: Kindness matters!

Viewers are invited to follow a “virtual watch party” on Riverfront Fort Wayne’s social media (Facebook, Twitter @riverfrontfw and Instagram, @riverfrontfortwayne) using the hashtag #SammiesWatchParty.

“Sammie and Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation collected caps in 2020, which raised enough caps to build 11 benches in our parks! The first bench will soon be installed in Hamilton Park, with others to be installed in other locations later this year. Additionally, Riverfront Fort Wayne is collaborating with Sammie on a special community art project called Caps with a Cause,” the city said.

On April 25, the community is invited to help turn colorful plastic bottle caps into inspiring murals at Promenade Park. For more information, visit


Comments are closed.