Students at UAlbany Use 3D Technology to Create Prosthetic Hands for Children

A computer science student at UAlbany is hoping to pursue a career in 3D printing or robotics, so when he heard about the opportunity to build a prosthetic hand for a child using 3D technology, he jumped at the chance to volunteer.

“I love to create and build things,” said Elliott Weintraub, a sophomore from Ardsley, N.Y. “I helped put together a child’s prototype hand and prosthetic hand.”

Photo Credit: MGN

Photo Credit: MGN

The project was started last year and ramped up significantly to complete hands for four children by the holidays. Originally planned as a one-time volunteer event, the project took on a life of its own with an estimated 50 volunteers and about 1,000 hours.

For children who are born missing a hand, receiving a cool-looking prosthetic in the colors of their favorite superhero is often not an option through regular means. Prosthetics, which ordinarily cost thousands of dollars, are usually purchased for adults, not children, because children outgrow them so quickly.

Each hand cost about $50 for parts and filament. When Capital Region businesses heard about the project, they were quick to donate materials. Lowes donated some of the special screws needed, while Schenectady, NY-based, miSci (Museum of Innovation and Science); Troy, NY-based, 1st Playable, loaned their 3D printers; and Clifton Park, NY-based Kitware printed additional parts. Students, faculty, and alumni donated funds.

The hands were shipped just in time for the holidays. The volunteers are currently working with the families on an ongoing basis, to retrofit the hands and customize them as needed. There are two adults also awaiting hands from UAlbany’s informatics department.

This story was originally posted on News10.com.

Tips for Hanging a Mirror

Mirrors are a fabulous addition to your interior design plan. They are a necessity in the bathroom, but they also provide many benefits throughout your home. Mirrors can make a small room or narrow hallway feel larger, they add light to dark areas, and they can create beautiful focal points. For best results, there are some things you should consider before hanging a mirror.

Consider placement
Tips for hanging mirrors - ReBath of AlbanyWhile mirrors look great in most rooms, you want to choose their placement carefully. Consider how the light will reflect off the mirror. Are you placing the mirror in an area where it can bounce light from an opposite window? Consider what the mirror will reflect as well. What will you see when you look at the mirror from various angles? Will it show a pleasing image or highlight an area you would rather not showcase?
When finding the best place for your mirror, also think about how it will be used. A mirror in a foyer can be great for touching up before you leave or smoothing your hair when coming in on a windy day. If you have a desk that faces the wall, a mirror can give you a view of the room behind you and keep others from sneaking up on you.
Find the right height
Hanging your mirror at the wrong height will leave taller people stooping, and shorter people tiptoeing, just to see their full reflection. A mirror that is too high or too low can also look strange when it isn’t in use. The general rule of thumb is to hang a mirror at eye level or slightly lower.
Of course, eye level will be different from one person to the next. One way to find the right height for your mirrors is to measure the eye level (from the floor) of each person in your family, then use the average to hang your mirror.
Weigh the mirror
Before you can choose the right hardware and hooks to hang your mirror, you need to know how much it weighs. If you can hold the mirror by yourself, you can find out the weight by holding it when you step on your scale. Subtract your weight (without the mirror) and you know the weight of your mirror.
For a very large mirror, you may have to estimate the weight. For safety, assume the mirror weighs more than you think. Investing in stronger hardware is better than having a mirror come crashing down.
Choose your hardware
Large mirrors are typically hung with D rings and heavy picture wire. D rings are attached to either side of the mirror back, and picture wire is strung taut through them. On the wall, your choice depends on whether you are putting a hook into drywall or a wooden stud. Generally, you can use a heavy picture hook in a stud, while a toggle bolt is safer in dry wall. The size of the D rings and hooks that you use will depend on the weight of your mirror.
Mirrors add beauty, light and functionality to your home. With a little careful planning, you are sure to love the look of your new mirrors.

This story is brought to you from the ReBath Remarks Newsletter. To subscribe click here.

Join us at the Saratoga Home and Lifestyle Show!

ReBath of Albany’s beautiful displays will be going to the Saratoga Home and Lifestyle Show this weekend.

ReBath of Albany at the Saratoga Home & Lifestyle Show

Visit ReBath of Albany at the Saratoga Home & Lifestyle Show Feb 27-March 1

We will have friendly and knowledgeable associates working at our booth all weekend. They will be happy to answer all of your questions and will have some special offers to tell you about. These offers are only available to people who attend the home show.

The ReBath of Albany home show display will feature a full bathroom remodel as well as several smaller, bathtub and shower displays. For several years now, ReBath of Albany has been remodeling entire bathrooms in as little as two days. This display shows all of the beautiful products that they offer, such as Onyx vanity tops, Merillat cabinets, Armstrong flooring and, of course, ReBath patented acrylic. This display is definitely worth a look.

This year’s Saratoga Home and Lifestyle Show promises to be a great one!

Friday, from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm the Saratoga Winery will be offering tastings ts hand-crafted varieties of wine as well as craft beers.

Saturday at noon, 1 pm and 2 pm a cooking demonstration will be held. Learn some of the secrets of making paella, an internationally-known Spanish rice dish, during cooking demonstrations by Chef Matt Richardson of Boca Bistro.

All day Sunday, children 17 and under get into the show for free. From 11 am to 2 pm here will be face painting and balloon animals.

Also on Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm, HOPE Animal Rescue will be available with some pets for adoption.

All weekend attendees can register for door prizes.

Show hours:
Friday, February 27, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday, February 28, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday, March 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Location:
Saratoga Springs City Center
522 Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Brant Lake to Hold Winter Carnival

Here’s some extra motivation to chop down that monstrous icicle growing off your roof.

Brant Lake to Hold Winter Festival - ReBath of Albany Blog

At the Brant Lake Winter Carnival on Feb. 9, 2013, Garwood Custom Boats in Brant Lake races in the annual outhouse race on the lake at Jimbo’s Club. (Courtesy of Brandon Himoff)

New at this year’s Brant Lake Winter Carnival on Saturday is the “Longest Icicle Contest,” which will award icicle-like trophies in both adult and child categories for the contestants who tote the longest icicles to the frozen lake.

“It’s really a matter of transporting it there,” said Cindy Mead, co-chairperson for the winter carnival and secretary of the Tri-Lakes Business Alliance.

This is the third year volunteers with the Alliance, founded in 2011, have organized the one-day carnival that takes place on the snow-covered beach and frozen lake in front of Jimbo’s Club at the Point, which now includes a large sledding hill made of snow.

Mead said the carnival is growing in popularity and last year attracted about 600 people.

“It grew from the year before. We think it’s probably going to grow this year,” Mead said.

Carnival Co-chairperson Brandon Himoff, also a board member of the volunteer Alliance, said it was a hit from the start, attracting at least 400 people and offering a number if interactive events.

“It got a lot of interest even that first year. We had a tremendous crowd last year, especially during the outhouse race,” Himoff said.

A total of $1,100 in prize money is at stake for the outhouse races. There is a $25 entry fee, and the fastest team will take home $500. There’s also a $100 prize for “judges’ choice,” Mead said. Last year, there were nine entrants.

The prize money was raised by Loon Lake couple Randy and Patricia Berg in memory of their son, Davin Berg, who died at age 29 in 2009. Last year, they raised about $900 in memory of their son.

“If he was still alive he’d be the first one lined up with an outhouse. He’d do all sorts of things like that,” Randy Berg said.

The couple’s older son is competing this year, traveling from Dutchess County.

In addition to the cash, teams will win trophies that look like miniature wooden outhouses made by Jim McCluskey from McCluskey Hardware and Supply. For more information on outhouse specifications and sign-ups, visit www.trilakesalliance.com.

The race is at 4 p.m., but teams should be registered and have their outhouses on the ice by 1 p.m.

The carnival starts at 11 a.m. with snowshoe softball and continues through the day with several other events such as a frying pan toss and broom ball.

If you want to try your hand at curling, the Lake Placid Curling Club will be there, too.

Himoff said the frying pan toss, originally a women’s event, became so popular they added a men’s division this year.

Also new this year is the coronation of a “king and queen” that are chosen based on votes placed at local restaurants and the North Warren school that nominated a king and queen.

Each vote cast at the local establishments cost $1, and the couple that raises the most money through votes placed, up to Saturday morning, will be crowned at noon on the lake.

The town of Horicon awarded $4,000 in occupancy tax funds to the winter carnival to help pay for the fireworks display, scheduled for around 6 p.m., and marketing costs.

The Alliance is an informal group of business owners and community members who have started several successful events in the tri-lakes area of Brant Lake, Friends Lake and Loon Lake. Mead said they meet every other Friday, and she has more than 200 email addresses signed up for an email blast.

The Alliance is meant to complement other community organizations such as the North Warren Chamber of Commerce. Its other events include the Chestertown Farmers Market, Taste of the Tri-Lakes and Rum Runners Weekend.

“A bunch of businesses got together because there just wasn’t a lot going on. We got together and got a lot of community residents involved. Anyone can come to our meetings. We brainstorm and come up with these ideas,” Mead said.

Mead said the towns of Horicon and Chester have been supportive of the Alliance.

“All these businesses, we all work together. A lot of times restaurants will donate gift certificates. We’ve got contractors and they build stuff. There’s our sign painter. We all kind of chip in,” Mead said. “This is all the community members getting together.”

The Brant Lake Winter Carnival was given honorable mention in April in the Adirondack Park Local Government Day Conference’s 2014 Adirondack Park Excellence Award for Best Community Event.

Schedule
The third Brant Lake Winter Carnival takes place Saturday on the ice in front of Jimbo’s:
* 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Snowshoe softball
* Noon — Coronation ceremony for king and queen
* 1 to 2 p.m. — Woman’s fry pan toss
* 2 to 3 p.m. — Broom ball tournaments
* 3 to 4 p.m. — Men’s fry pan toss
* 4 to 5 p.m. — Outhouse race
* 5 to 5:30 p.m. — Awards ceremony
* 6 p.m. — Fireworks display

Other attractions
Curling with the Lake Placid Curling Club, skating, sledding hill, ice bowling, vintage snowmobile display.

Email cmead3@nycap.rr.com for more information or to sign up for any events.

This story originally appeared on Poststar.com

Dolgeville Shower Redo Complete

Our installers spent Monday working on a tub to shower conversion in Dogleville.

The homeowners had a fiberglass jetted tub in one their bathrooms. Since they rarely used the tub and one of the homeowners uses a wheelchair, they decided it was time to have to it converted to a shower.

Our installers arrived at the home at 7 a.m. and began removing the tub. After removing the tub, they tore the walls down to expose the plumbing. Since there was no shower in the spot previously, they spent some time extending pipes and moving plumbing.

By mid afternoon, the installers had the new mold-resistant backer board installed and the flat acrylic shower base. Around this time, they asked the homeowners to come in and select where they wanted their fixtures placed.

The homeowners purchased a few extra fixtures that would aid them in bathing safely. The installers made note of where everything was planned to go and got back to work.

By late afternoon, the walls were installed, the grab bars in place and the faucets working. They sealed up the new shower and installed the shower doors. In about 9 hours worth of work, the installers had completely transformed the space. These Dolgeville  homeowners are very happy with the job.

Check out some of their after photos.

 

Dance marathon assists record number of recipients

A Glens Falls woman battling breast cancer, a Schroon Lake drummer diagnosed with advanced multiple myeloma and the families of two men who died from an accident and illness last month are among the record number of designated recipients of this year’s South High Dance Marathon funds.

Rebath of Albany News

South Glens Falls students participate in the 37th annual South High Marathon Dance on Friday, March 7, 2014. Hundreds participated in the event that runs for 24 hours and raises money for a variety of charities selected by a student planning committee. (Post-Star file photo)

The Marathon Committee has announced the 44 beneficiaries of the money that will be raised at the event on March 6-7.

The students collected more than $583,000 during last year’s dance and are hoping to top that record this year.

Students are responsible for choosing the beneficiaries, which this year total more than the 39 people and charities helped in 2014.

Hannah Hutter, a committee chairperson, said the group decided to increase the number of recipients because it received about 140 applications from organizations and individuals.

“We’re very excited to be dancing for all these people and helping people who need the money,” she said.

The committee altered its process slightly this year, according to Hutter. Instead of going through each applicant as a group, they handed committee members a packet of information about each one. Then, the committee selected the ones that were a definite yes and voted to approve them. Afterward, the group went through the rest.

Hutter said the group gave priority to those applicants who had a connection with the school.

“This year, more so than years past, there were a lot of potential recipients who were related to people who were dancing,” she said.

The committee also gave priority to people with a life-threatening illness, according to Hutter.

Olivia Higgins, another committee chairperson, said it was a difficult process to cut down the list of applicants.

“It was hard trying to adjust because we had so many more this year,” she said. “It was a little slow getting into it, but once we got the process down, it went smoothly.”

Higgins attributed the increase to interest to the growing publicity about the marathon. Now, it is attracting applicants from outside the district.

The recipients include Toni Lyng, who was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago. Preteen girls Heather and Catherine Hayes of Glens Falls have been raising money in honor of Lyng, who is their aunt.

Schroon Lake resident Rhonda Barnes has been undergoing treatment for a stem cell transplant after battling advanced multiple myeloma. She is a drummer and vocalist with Rockology, which was among nine bands that held a benefit concert in September.

The family of Benjamin Simpson will also receive funds. Simpson died last month after a three-year battle with progressive cerebellar ataxia, a neurological disorder, which robbed him of muscle coordination and the ability to form words.

Another recipient is the family of Melvin Jacobie, owner of an excavating company who was killed Jan. 1 when a truck he was working under began rolling down the hill.

Charities that are receiving funding include the Alzheimer’s Association of Northeastern NY, the C.R. Wood Cancer Center at Glens Falls Hospital, Habitat for Humanity and the Open Door Mission.

Preparations are in high gear for the event. Soon, the committee will be working to record videos about each recipient that will be shown at the dance.

There will be mandatory meetings for students who want to participate in the event, Hutter said.

A meeting Wednesday is for freshmen and sophomores, and juniors and seniors will meet Thursday.

“Everybody is crazy busy right now,” Higgins said.

The students are looking forward to the dance, according to Hutter.

“We’re really super-duper excited and can’t wait. It’s really coming fast,” she said.

To see a full list of the people who benefited from this event, please visit Post Star’s website.

For more information or to find out how to donate, visit www.shmd.org.

Prevent Frozen Pipes This Winter

It’s that time of year again…bitter cold, wind chills below zero, and frozen pipes in your home.

Rebath of Albany tips and tricks for preventing frozen pipes

Rebath of Albany tips and tricks for preventing frozen pipes

Frozen pipes can be quite the problem. They can leave you without water for a long period of time and that is not the worst thing that can happen. You could end up with burst pipes, leaks and major damage to parts of your home.

There are a few ways you help prevent your homes’ pipes from freezing. If you live in an area that gets extremely cold in the winter, you should try a few of these preventative steps.

Insulate any exposed pipes
Many houses in our area have pipes exposed in the basement. Unless your furnace heats your basement, these pipes can be exposed to severely cold temperatures. To prevent freezes from happening in these areas, insulate your pipes with foam pipe insulator from the hardware store.

Use a small heater or heat lamp
Depending on where in your home your pipes are susceptible to freezing, you may want to shine a heat lamp on the area or plug in a small electric heater. You will want to do this in an area that has some ventilation.

Leave the faucet running
We know the last thing you want to do at this time of year is rack up a higher water bill, but just leaving your faucet running a little bit can help prevent your pipes from freezing. Running water is much less likely to freeze than water just sitting in the pipes.

Open doors to under the sink plumbing
This is a simple way to prevent pipes from freezing. Simply open the doors of your vanity or cabinets and let the room temperature air circulate inside.

Turn the water off when you go away
If you are planning to spend a few days away from your home, it is really in your best interest, to find your main water shut off, and turn the water off completely. This will help prevent any unwanted surprises when you return.

If your pipes do freeze, don’t panic. First, turn the faucet on. If nothing comes out of cold or hot, try to figure out where the freeze is located. Then plug in a hair dryer and warm the pipes. Many times, this will fix your frozen pipes. If it does not, or if you have a leak, call a plumber immediately.

Kingsbury Military Family Turns Son’s Death into Literacy Initiative

A military family, from Kingsbury, is channeling the devastating loss of a son in combat into helping children in the Capital Region.

ReBath of Albany

Ben Osborn, from Kingsbury, had trouble reading growing up, but says it was diligence that made him love it. That is why his father had the idea to create permanent book stations around the area–filled with books children can borrow, keep, or swap.

Corporal Ben Osborn was killed in Afghanistan in June 2010 during his second tour overseas.

“He’s my hero, and has been my hero for a long time,” said Bill Osborne, Ben’s father.

Shortly after, his family began the Ben Osborn Memorial Fund in his name, which is now expanding to include a new literacy program.

Ben’s father, Bill, says learning of his son’s death is unexplainable.

“I and my family suffered a devastating loss, and it’s hard to recover from something like that,” said Bill.

But instead of letting grief get him down, the memorial fund has given him a new purpose and aims to give the children of others a lift.

“I knew this couldn’t be the end. That something more had to follow,” explained Bill.

Like many kids, Bill says Ben had trouble reading growing up, but says it was diligence that made him love it. That is why he had the idea to create permanent book stations around the area–filled with books children can borrow, keep, or swap.

Already more than 12 sponsors and more than 1,500 books donated to help make Ben’s book stations a reality—and he knows the initiative would make his late son very proud. The memorial fund also worked with 30 area schools to help make sure at risk students get what they need.

“He would be smiling from ear to ear, he would be so happy about this,” says Bill.

Bill also says that Lake George has already committed to two book stations in their town, where Ben grew up.

“It’s incredible, the people that we don’t know that just want to be a part,” said Bill.

Bill hopes to have the first round of book stations installed by March or April and that local schools have expressed interests in having local students help to design and build the book stations themselves.

“It’s a great way to honor my son, and it’s just good, everybody wins,” says Bill.

To donate to the Ben Osborn Memorial Fund, click here.

This story originally appeared on News 10.

Christmas Comes Early for Some

If you’re just putting up your holiday decorations, a few area residents might snicker and think you’re slacking off. They had their halls decked weeks ago.

Christmas Comes Early - ReBath of Albany

Christmas trees are lit up on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, at Erin and John Catone’s house in Saratoga Springs. (Megan Farmer – mfarmer@poststar.com)

Mikayla Moulton of South Glens Falls started plucking Christmas ornaments from boxes right after Halloween. The 14-year-old, who usually leads the charge in her family to haul out the holly, admits the holiday spirit kicked in earlier than usual this year and she went with it.

“I started thinking about Christmas and being with my family and it made me happy,” Mikayla said. “I remember going into school and going to my friend, ‘Hey, you might think this is weird but I started listening to Christmas music the other day. She was like, ‘It’s OK, I did too.’”

Mikayla’s mother, Tracey, said the teen and her older brother, Liam, have always loved Christmas, but Mikayla sometimes gets so excited that by the time it finally arrives, she ends up getting sick.

On Nov. 5, Tracey posted on Facebook a photo of her daughter standing in the living room next to an artificial tree. The caption read, “Look what Mikayla has been doing after school this week!”

“I came home from work and she had the Christmas music going and had started pulling the boxes up. It was fine; it was all good,” Tracey said.

In about five days, Mikayla had the house adorned with poinsettias, candles and stockings. Bells hung on the banister and miniature trees were in each of the bedrooms.

Mikayla said she doesn’t think she’ll get tired of all ornamentation by the time Christmas is here, but putting everything back in boxes afterward won’t be much fun.

Tracey thinks she will have to take over.

“(My husband) Kevin’s pretty good about helping with the tree and the outdoor decorations, but when it’s time to put it away, I guess that falls mostly on me,” she said.

Christmas memories

This year, as in the past, Kathy Godsil-Lozo’s house in Hudson Falls looks like a winter wonderland with her stuffed snowman collection, wreaths and even sparkly lighted garland and a snowman bowl in her kitchen.

On the large tree in the living room hang several of her cherished ornaments, as well as her husband Charles’ favorite Star Trek figures. The smaller New York Giants-themed tree in the corner, however, is strictly for Charles.

The couple, together for 17 years, always worked as a team to begin decorating in mid-November and Godsil-Lozo decided to continue the tradition, although she now has to do it alone.

This was supposed to be the couple’s first Christmas as husband and wife but Charles died in August of cancer, just four days after a hastily arranged wedding was held in his hospital room.

Godsil-Lozo said it is “rough” this year without her husband but knowing he loved Christmas has inspired her to decorate the way they always did. And she plans to keep adding Giants in holiday outfits to the football tree every year.

“I believe he’s up there looking down and I wanted to do something for him,” she said. “His spirit is here.”

Decked out

Christmas Comes Early - ReBath of Albany

Erin Catone adds a new Christmas ornament to her tree on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, at her home in Saratoga Springs. Erin and her husband John have four Christmas trees in their home. (Megan Farmer – mfarmer@poststar.com)

For the Catones of Saratoga Springs, Thanksgiving dinner wouldn’t be the same if twinkling Christmas lights weren’t reflected on the bronzed turkey.

Erin Catone’s mother always got an early start on the holiday and Erin does, too. She believes her house is usually the first in the neighborhood to get dressed up.

“The neighbors probably think we’re crazy, but you know what? I get it. Some people think it’s too early, but I love it. It’s my house. Everyone has different opinions,” Erin said.

This year the festooning began a week after Halloween, which is early even for the Catones, but they arranged to take the same day off and their daughter came home from college to help.

They have the routine down to a science: the furniture is emptied from the first-floor rooms and John shampoos the rugs and polishes the hardwood floors. The decorating then starts in earnest and continues for two weeks.

A few days before Thanksgiving, there were candles in the windows, kissing balls outside the windows, and garland and knickknacks all around.

And you couldn’t miss the four themed Christmas trees.

Various incarnations of Mickey and Minnie Mouse appeared on the red-and-white-lit Disney tree, Mr. and Mrs. Claus donned blue-and-white baseball uniforms on the New York Yankees tree and Erin paid homage to her late mother with a memory tree that included all her ornaments and her stocking. The most majestic of the evergreens soars to the ceiling in the great room.

“It takes like 15 minutes to shut off all the lights at night,” John said.

By New Year’s Day, John will have had his fill of illumination and will be ready to store everything in the basement. Erin plans to keep the Yankees tree out for the rest of the year, though, and substitute Christmas bulbs with ornaments for the other holidays of the year.

“It’s so pretty,” Erin said.

This story was originally published on Post Star.

‘Buddy Bench’ helps kids find a friend, prevent bullying

Buddy Bench at school in Colonie - ReBath of AlbanyStudents at Blue Creek Elementary School, in Colonie, don’t feel left out on the playground anymore.

This year, the school installed a “buddy bench.” If children feel lonely, they can sit down and a playmate will soon arrive.

“Some of the teachers helped us to remember if you see anyone on the bench, ask them to go over and play because it’s nice,” said Julia Repko, a third grader.

“I saw somebody sitting on the bench and I asked them to cover over and play,” added her classmate, Marisa Mullen.

Buddy Bench at school in Coloniw - ReBath of Albany

Blue Creek Elementary School students, Julia Repko, left, Marisa Mullen, Kyle Hume and Hannah Bouchard, right, gather around the “buddy bench” Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 2, 2014, at Blue Creek Elementary School in Latham, N.Y. The “buddy bench” is a safe harbor where students can sit to indicate to others that they are feeling left out or bullied. Other children can then go sit with them or invite them to join in play, or teachers can ask what’s wrong. (Skip Dickstein/Times Union)

The bench is decorated with a rainbow, flower and dove. Look closely and you’ll see the painting is made of thumbprints. Every child, staff member and teacher put their fingerprint on the bench, as did the district’s superintendent and associate superintendent.

“I am amazed at how many children have gone over and used the bench,” said Kathy Berger, a third-grade teacher who chairs the School Success program with counselor Eileen Satterlee. The bench is visible from her class, so she frequently sees it in use.

“We are teaching our children that they are members of the community at Blue Creek,” Satterlee said. “We look for large ways and small ways to infuse character education at our schools.”

The bench isn’t the only thing new this year. The playground is new too, dedicated in memory of Vincenzo Rizzo, a fifth grader who died in 2013 of an infection. It’s also next to a garden created in memory of a teacher, Jean Bassett, who died of breast cancer.

The idea for the bench did not originate with Blue Creek. It’s been adopted by schools across the nation, and Skano Elementary School in Clifton Park has had one for about a decade.

“Every year at the beginning of the year, we reteach the kids. We tell them what the buddy bench is for,” said Skano school counselor Jaclyn Franchini. “Kids make use of it all the time. You definitely hear them talking about it.”

Stephen Birchak, professor of counseling at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, said such efforts are effective. Capital Region schools in recent years have placed great emphasis on anti-bullying efforts, from honoring random acts of kindness in Cohoes to bringing in World Wrestling Entertainment stars to Schenectady.

“The idea of the buddy bench is one of the many ideas I’ve seen around the Capital District,” Birchak said. “They actually do work. Peer mediation works when the students are trained properly. It gives kids opportunities to reach out to others. I don’t think we can ever get too much of it.”

The author of the book “How to Build a Child’s Character by Tapping into Your Own,” Birchak also liked the idea that Blue Creek stresses the positive nature of the bench rather than just condemning bullying.

“We spend so much time on corrective behavior we become numb to it,” he said.

At Blue Creek, the hope is children will learn to keep looking out for others in need as they get older, Satterlee said.

Third-grader Annabelle Vasquez said she felt lonely one day at recess.

“I was sitting on the buddy bench because I had no one to play with,” she said.

Her classmate Jenna Grinnell saw her and invited her to join her on the playground.

Another third grader, Christian Francis, said he invited a boy on the bench to play tag.

“The buddy bench is a good place for people to make new friends,” he said.

This story was originally published on The Times Union.