Editor’s note: 12-year-old Acacia, nicknamed Tiny, is the founder and leader of Tiny Girl, Big Dream. Inspired Woman visited with her about her company, and specifically about the friendship benches that will soon be at every school in Bismarck and Mandan. 

IMG_3899What are the Friendship benches? A Friendship Bench is a special bench that goes into a school playground or common area and anytime someone needs a friend to talk to or play with, they can sit on the bench and it signals to others that they need someone to talk to. I founded Tiny Girl, Big Dream in 2012 with a goal of placing friendship kits into every school across the United States and, through kindness and friendship, push bullying and violence out of schools and communities. 

How long have the benches been around? The first bench was made in 2012, and since then the benches have expanded to more areas. We now have benches across the United States and even in Canada. I’m hoping to expand even further and create a worldwide kindness epidemic.

What makes the Friendship benches unique? I was born without complete arms, and I know what it feels like to be left out, to not be part of the “normal” group. Every person is unique, and the Friendship Benches are the same way – every bench has different rainbow colors and each bench is made from pieces that were in the scrap pile. For some reason, the pieces were not good enough to be put into a solid colored chair so they were put into the scrap pile and then put into the friendship benches. This is my favorite thing about the friendship benches. Each piece of the bench is flawed or imperfect, but when all the flawed pieces come together they create something beautiful and strong enough to stand the test of time. This is just like the human race, each person is flawed or imperfect but when we come together we create something remarkable, just like the friendship kits.

Where can you find these benches in the Bismarck and Mandan area? At the start of this school year there will be benches in every school in Bismarck/Mandan.

How can people learn more about Friendship benches and Tiny Girl, Big Dream? People can go to our website, www.tinygirlbigdream.org, or they can contact my mom, Amber, or go into Advantage Appliance on East Main Avenue in Bismarck.

Can people donate to your organization? Tiny Girl Big Dream is not a non-profit organization so people cannot do a direct donation, however people can buy benches for a school in their area and have it custom engraved with their name. We are mission based, and everything we do is intended to promote our mission above all else.

What are your needs right now? We are currently working with the University of Mary to create a new website but there is always need for more benches in more schools.