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Buddy Bot Peer Service Project, by Claudia Zhang
Fall is in full swing and as a semester in high school rounds up, I decided to do a service project with my friends! My name is Claudia Zhang and I am a junior in high school as well as a Volunteer Square intern. Besides updating my town page and volunteering, being an intern also entails completing a peer service project.
For my project, I was inspired by the great activities and projects I did with the KARE club back in middle school. The KARE club, which stands for Kids.Aware.React.Experience. is a volunteer-based club that works to benefit the community. I had an enriching experience participating in this club as we created care packages and Christmas cards, and made blankets for shelters. One project that was really memorable was the buddy bot project we did. A buddy bot is a robot friend/buddy that is drawn onto a domino. These buddy bots are given to kids in hospitals as a form of support.
I guess this project really struck a chord with me because I went through an experience where a buddy bot would have helped me. Being in a hospital for about a month as a child who was still kindergarten, I remember how strange and lonely I felt sitting on the hospital bed every day. I didn’t know anyone and was uncomfortable being away from home. Looking back on my experience being in such a position, I wanted to do this project to help other kids feel a sense of comfort and support as they undergo their treatments.
As a result, I got a bunch of dominoes, sharpies, and peers to help me out. Since I am a part of the art club in my school, I decided to reach out to them and also a few other friends. When I pitched this idea to them, they were more than willing to be a part of this project. With this extremely creative and generous group of people, I set out to make these bot buddies!
The process was super simple. Each person would draw a cool, different robot figure onto each domino and also draw on a special symbol. Once finished, a clear glaze was put on top of the drawings to add a protective coat onto them. The symbols of the buddy bots-pictured above-have different meanings. The heart symbolizes care. The shield with the letter B symbolizes bravery. The star means friendship. The smiley face stands for joy. The flower symbolizes hope. By giving the buddy bots to the kids, we are essentially giving them a form of a power. For example, the green robot- pictured to the right has the power of hope.
In the end, we were able to create 52 buddy bots! I am ecstatic to see that these buddy bots will go to help 52 kids in a hospital feel a sense of happiness and comfort. I plan on donating these buddy bots to the Yale-New Haven’s Children’s hospital.
I encourage anyone who is interested in making the buddy bots to gather some friends and create these cool bots for kids. For a complete set of instructions, you can go to this website: https://www.ynhh.org/childrens-hospital/services/support-services/child-life/arts-for-healing/bot-buddy.aspx
If anyone does decide to do this project, please don’t forget to share pictures of your project on Volunteer Square!