“Operation Buddy Bench”

Vista, CA, June 16, 2017– Joli Ann Leichtag Elementary School is enjoying their newly renovated landscape and Buddy Bench thanks to volunteer work by Girl Scout Troop #1233 and Heaviland Landscape Management (HLM). The project was identified when several of the girls from the troop noticed their school’s landscape needed work. The school playground had an overgrown hillside with a lot of weeds and dead shrubs. In addition to the landscape clean-up, the girls also wanted to enhance the playground by installing a Buddy Bench.  A Buddy Bench symbolizes an Anti-Bullying message and promotes friendliness. “School should be fun, and feeling safe is important to us”, Troup #1233.

Knowing this plan could not be accomplished alone, Diana Vasquez who is heavily involved with her daughter’s Girl Scout endeavors, encouraged them to reach out to her co-worker Bryal Hilton, Design and Development Planner at HLM. “I wanted them to reach out to a female in a male dominant industry, to broaden their opportunities of careers they might be interested in.”, Diana explained. Once the project goals were communicated to Bryal, she began designing the new look of the hillside. Bryal executed the girls vision by putting together a concept rendering that incorporated a drought tolerant, environmentally friendly landscape with a water-efficient irrigation system.

Once the design was complete, Bryal contacted Heaviland’s Construction Manager, Martin Silva to tell him about the volunteer project. Martin was eager to help right away and contacted suppliers for potential material donations. The donations from Imperial Sprinkler Supply, J.J. Growers, and Plant’s Choice inspired Tom Heaviland, the President of HLM to donate the Buddy Bench.

“We love the opportunity to give back to our community and support our employees in any way we can. Our goal at Heaviland is to enrich the lives of our employees through education and volunteering, so this really hit home for us,” Tom Heaviland

The Girl Scouts, Heaviland employees, and family members came together to install the new landscape and Buddy Bench. In addition to the renovation, Heaviland employees coached the girls on plant installation, weed removal, and plant education. The result was exactly as the Girl Scouts envisioned and they were overwhelmed by the support and donations. As a thank you to Heaviland, they arranged an Award ceremony to thank them for their contributions in renovating their school and helping them earn their Girl Scouts Bronze award.


# # #

For more photos of the project and awards ceremony visit Heaviland’s facebook page at