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Promenade Park to be Featured on National Television with Sammie Vance

04/01/2021  |  BY rfw

Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation and Riverfront Fort Wayne are excited to share even more positive results of collaboration with local youth leader Sammie Vance, including on two ongoing projects: the Buddy Bench project and Caps for a Cause. Last August, television crews followed Sammie Vance as she worked on bringing her Buddy Bench project to Fort Wayne parks, and the result will premiere to a national television audience on April 7 at 8 p.m.

BYUtv’s “Operation Awesome” will feature 12-year-old Sammie Vance, an eighth grader at Blackhawk Middle School, and her Buddy Bench project in the April 7 episode. Promenade Park, the city’s newest park and part of the ongoing Riverfront development project, is featured prominently as well. In addition to local cable and satellite outlets, “Kindness Counts,” can be viewed live for free on or on the BYUtv app. After the April 7 airing, the episode will also stream for free on the BYUtv app.

Episode description from BYUtv:

“Kindness Counts” – Operation Awesome ventures to Fort Wayne, Indiana to meet 11-year-old Sammie, creator of Sammie’s Buddy Bench. Sammie’s goal is to address loneliness by placing buddy benches in schools. Sammie and the team have the idea to get one of Sammie’s benches in the city’s park and to educate the whole community on the importance of plastic pollution and recycling!

“I was honored to be featured and glad the show came to Fort Wayne,” Sammie said. “It was an amazing experience and I can’t wait for everyone to see the hard work we did and the fun we had. The title of the episode is perfect: Kindness Counts!” Local viewers are invited to follow along with a “Virtual Watch Party” on Riverfront Fort Wayne’s social media (Facebook, Twitter @riverfrontfw and Instagram, @riverfrontfortwayne) using the hashtag #SammiesWatchParty.

Sammie and Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation collected caps in 2020, which resulted in collecting enough caps to build 11 benches in our parks! The first bench will soon be installed at Hamilton Park, with others coming to additional locations later this year. In addition, Riverfront Fort Wayne is collaborating with Sammie on a special community art project called Caps with a Cause.

Riverfront Fort Wayne’s Program & Events Manager Megan Butler said, “These types of collaborative community projects celebrating the environment, youth, and the community continue to illustrate the mission and vision of Riverfront Fort Wayne to deliver exciting experiences to all members of our community and to remain an inclusive project which seeks continued input as each person makes the riverfront their own.”

On Sunday, April 25, the community is invited to help turn colorful plastic bottlecaps into inspirational murals at Promenade Park.


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