NORWALK, Conn. -- Cranbury Elementary School in Norwalk will unveil a new "buddy bench" to remind people about the dangers of bullying.
The bench will be unveiled Saturday and is dedicated to the life of Bart Palosz , a Greenwich High School student who took his own life last year at the age of 15. When Cranbury mom Lori Keegan heard that Palosz's family blamed his suicide on years of constant bullying, she decided to do something to help that from happening to others.
“I cried when I read about Bart,” Keegan said. “I've never been touched like this before by any story.”
The bench's concrete foundation was laid by Bart's father, Franek Palosz, with his own money and hard work. The bench will be outfitted with a memorial plaque in honor of Bart.
“Franek was very happy he could help in the creation of such an amazing memorial,” said Anna Palosz, Franek’s wife and Bart’s mother. “To him, it was something very important.”
After the idea came to her, Keegan recruited other Cranbury moms who had the same passion for the project as she did. She spearheaded several fundraising efforts. The first donation she received was from the 2014 Cranbury fifth grade class, with an anonymous donor matching the donation. Keegan also set up money donation jars in the Cranbury lobby, at Taste of Poland in Stamford, Polish Deli in Norwalk and the Polish Club in Greenwich. She also held fundraisers at Garden Catering in Norwalk and Peachwave .
Keegan also has contacted other organizations to raise awareness about bullying in honor of Palosz.
"I want every elementary school to have a buddy bench," she said. "It's to teach kids to take a friend, be a friend on the bench and reach out to someone who has no one to play with."
Keegan said she would like to see buddy benches installed at Palosz's elementary school in Greenwich and at Greenwich High School.
"After this is done, I want to go school to school and talk, even help to get buddy benches for schools. I want Bart's memory to live on."
The unveiling and dedication for the bench will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8 at Cranbury Elementary School, 10 Knowalot Lane. The Palosz family will be in attendance and the community is invited to join.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.