The IJA Sammie Vance Youth Civic Achievement Award

Tis the season of giving and the IJA teaming up with Sammie Vance and her Buddy Bench project have done just that!

A buddy bench now sits at the Boys and Girls Club Fort Wayne, IN that was made possible through teamwork and friendship!

This buddy bench is made out of 200 lbs of recycled plastic bottle caps and lids. It will be a tool to help others make friends and be a friend.

“Seeing Sammie see it in person for the first time brought happy tears to my eyes! Watching her show it to the kids, priceless. I love what the bench says and represents” -Heidi Vance

“Friendship is one of the major benefits of juggling.  Those of us in the juggling community know from personal experience the many bonds between friends that develop as a result of doing what we love.  The International Jugglers’ Association in seventy three years of picnics, conventions, and festivals has provided and continues to provide a rich environment that fosters productive camaraderie” -Bill Barr

A dream that Sammie had, and IJA helped fund, and Boys and Girls Club collected caps for, began at the IJA convention this past summer. Helping others benefits everyone involved.

In Sammie’s words:

“The IJA is an awesome group and they inspired me to try new things. The IJA has been a great experience from learning how to juggle, speaking at the benefit show, receiving an award and starting off a collection and funding for a buddy bench at the Boys and Girls Club in Fort Wayne! I enjoyed meeting everyone and watching so many talented people that I now call friends.”

The IJA is so kind that they even donated the money to get one 6 ft. buddy bench for the boys and girls club in my city. The IJA was one of the biggest highlights of my summer. The Boys and Girls club loved collecting the caps for the buddy bench. They just got their first one made possible with the partnership with my project and the IJA. And they want to continue collecting to get more buddy benches for the community.

When I got to stop by and see their buddy bench it made my day; it was probably the best Buddy Bench I’ve every seen.

Thank you IJA members for everything. “If you can dream it, you can do it!”

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