Sean and Jorge sit on the new Buddy Bench installed outside Matheson Memorial Library in Elkhorn. Jamie Stiling-Stepp, founder of Seeds of Hope, approached Scherrer Construction, which created and donated the bench through its Scherrer Cares Program.

Organization helps bring community together

Seeds of Hope recently announced the installation of a new Buddy Bench located outside Matheson Memorial Library in Elkhorn. The bench was a vision of Jamie Stiling-Stepp, the founder of Seeds of Hope, which works with adults with disabilities.

She recalls a participant in the Seeds of Hope program who had a hard time pronouncing the name of a fellow participant because they grew up in a different culture than the other participant.

The organization worked with the two individuals by focusing on their similarities rather than their differences. Once they began to get to know each other through positive eyes, they became friends. Their love of the library brought them together and the two are buddies now, according to Stiling-Stepp.

“Seeds of Hope is about planting possibilities by helping people embrace their differences,” she said.

Stiling-Stepp said she herself struggled with understanding the special needs community many years ago. When she let go of that fear, she was amazed at the possibilities she was able to plant.

When she approached Mark West from Scherrer Construction Co., Inc. about her vision for the bench, they were more than happy to create and donate the bench for the community through the Scherrer Cares Program.

Matheson Memorial Library is a perfect location for the Buddy Bench because people throughout the community can access it.

The hope is that the Buddy Bench will be a good place for friendships to form and grow, according to Stiling-Stepp.

A plaque near the bench will read, “Friendships bloom when we can embrace our differences.”

It’s Stiling-Stepp’s hope that the Buddy Bench will foster new friendships and partnerships within the Elkhorn community.

Seeds of Hope is a horticultural and recreational community that brings new growth opportunities to adults with developmental and other disabilities.

For more information visit Southern Lakes Newspapers will also publish an in depth feature story on the organization this week, in the Sept. 17-18 issues.


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