The GREEN Bench

What do you get when you cross:

  • An essential organization for our community (The Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County)
  • An incredible kid (Willow)
  • An adult who sometimes acts like a great big kid (Kelly),
  • A color (kelly green, of course), and
  • A Merlin Buddy Bench?


Never seen in this shade of Kelly Green before, this bench is sure to turn some heads!


Kelly created the Merlin Buddy Bench and the corresponding book: The Merlin Buddy Bench – Take Part in the Magic of Friendship to carry on the legacy of Merlin Bellinger, her late husband – who had a wonderful way of making others feel included. The first bench has a home a the Club’s O.C. Carmichael Center, as Merlin also felt a profound appreciation for the Club.

For more information about the Buddy Bench, Go to

It’s tough to feel alone or excluded.  It’s can be even more difficult to find the courage to ask to be included.  Oftentimes, kids don’t even notice that someone feels left out.  They are too busy with whatever they are doing. This can happen anywhere: the playground, gym class, in the carpool line.  The Merlin Buddy Bench is designed to help change that.  It is designed to remind kids to take notice of those around them.

The book is about a boy who feels excluded or unnoticed during recess.  Then, Merlin the Magician appears and grants the boy’s wish that this kind of thing never happens to anyone else on the school playground.  The next day, the Merlin Buddy Bench appears and as soon as he sits on it, other kids immediately notice him and invite him to play. 

All the kids soon learn that if they sit on the bench when they feel lonely, someone will notice them and invite them to talk or play.  More importantly, they learn that the true magic is not from the bench itself but from the friendships that they make.  Teachers use copies of the book to help explain or remind the student the purpose of the bench at the beginning of every school year.  (Learn more at

The Road Show…

Willow, Kelly and her kids plan to take this bench “to the streets” to share the magic of friendship and the Magic of the Club.  Perhaps will park ourselves downtown somewhere and invite any passerby to join us and hear about the Club.

Who Will Be Next…

Follow our blog to find out where and to see any fun “town celebrities” taking part of the magic of friendship with TEAM GREEN!

My favorite part of the day was Willow’s face when Mayor Pete hopped on board!!
What an experience for all of us to share together.

Such fun to Share the Magic of Friendship and the Club with our our little parade people, friends and Super Sponsors (1st Source, Holladay Properties, Graham Allen –and sending our love out to Gurley Leep.)

Looks like the Magic really worked on the Leprechaun…he’s flying!!!


The Green Buddy Bench made its public debut Saturday, April 16, 2019 at the South Bend St. Patrick’s Day Parade! Visit our blog again to see lots of pictures. We had a blast! And had a few special visitors!!!