Kids Doing Rad Stuff: Sammie Vance

What is your name?

Sammie Vance

How old are you?


Where are you from?

Fort Wayne, IN

What’s your favourite subject at school?


If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?


If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be?

Malala Yousafzai

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?


What’s your greatest memory from 2018?

Seeing 75 Buddy Benches made up of 15,000 lbs of recycled plastic caps and lids that I was able to give to schools!

Who inspires you?

Malala Yousafzai

What are some of your biggest achievements? 

Collecting 1,200 lbs of plastic caps and lids in 2 months to get Buddy Benches for my school! Teaming up with Walgreens and UPS to help spread more Buddy Benches.

What inspired you to create a Buddy Bench?

I heard about Buddy Bench at Vacation Bible School and knew my school needed one! I don’t like seeing anyone lonely!

What made you decide that you wanted to make the benches with recycled plastic lids and caps?

It was cheaper than a new bench and we could get the community involved. Plus recycling the caps and lids keeps them out of the ocean which is cool too!

Who makes the benches for you?

Green Tree Plastics down in Evansville, Indiana.

Where do you collect the plastic caps and lids from?

Everywhere! I asked school, community, pharmacies and even the local ball team to help me collect. There are so many different caps that are acceptable for the program from water bottle caps to cottage cheese lids!

How many plastic lids and caps does it take to make one Buddy Bench?

200 lbs of recycled plastic caps and lids to make 1 (6 ft buddy bench)

Can anyone make one of your Buddy Benches?

You bet! It is great for schools or groups to participate in!

How many Buddy Benches have you created in total?

A lot! In the last year I have been able to give close to 100 to schools around the country and there are tons of groups doing this or wanting to do this now!

Do you ever participate in or organise cleanups?

No as I am not around an ocean but I love the idea!

Do you educate others on the issue of plastic pollution itself?

Yes. I love that it can be reused for something really great and stay out of the oceans.

If you could change anything in the world, what would you change?

No loneliness.

You were a guest on the Today Show, you met your local Mayer, you’ve been featured in viral videos online and helped so many other kids make friends all over the world… it’s so so amazing what you’ve done and what you’re doing Sammie! What goals do you have in place for the year ahead?

I am hoping to get my book published and do something for kids in the hospitals to cheer them up.

Also continue to speak about Buddy Benches!

What is the impact you want to have on the world when you grow up?

That I helped spread Buddy Benches and lessen loneliness by collecting recycled plastic caps and lids! Hopefully that I can inspire kids that you don’t have to be an adult to make a difference! And to remember to be kind.