Discovering Magic: At The Middle of a Bench


It’s all about being a part of something bigger than ourselves, embracing the magic of authentic community, thriving with people who share different interests, bound together with a common goal —that is, to rediscover humanity at its very best.

~Dennis Pitocco

In the African country of Zimbabwe, war trauma and high unemployment can leave people in despair—until they find hope on a “friendship bench.” A Friendship Bench is quite literally a park bench — with a higher calling. Hopeless people can go there to talk with trained “grandmothers” —elderly women taught to listen to people struggling with depression, known in that nation’s Shona language as kufungisisa, or “thinking too much.” The Friendship Bench Project is spreading across the world, including Zanzibar, London, and New York City, as a safe place to listen and to be heard. …

The mission of the Friendship Bench is to create safe spaces and a sense of belonging in communities, to enhance mental wellbeing, and improve peoples’ quality of life.

~Dixon Chibanda, founder of the Friendship Bench in Zimbabwe in 2005

It started as just another Zoom gathering in early April 2020 —just as the global pandemic was taking hold. The idea was quite simple; invite people from around the world to gather on our virtual Friendship Bench, for just one hour every week to share, to care, to learn, to connect, and to embrace –with no sales pitches, no presentations, no agenda. A Bench where people would be bound together by choice, founded upon a universal good-faith commitment to listen, understand, respect, empathize with, and support one another. A place for giving and receiving without judgment. A place to escape from all the noise out there, and simply exhale among friends –both old and new.
Little did we know just how many would grab a seat, again and again, and again. And little did we know just how quickly this gathering would become such a welcome, wonderful, and essential part of our weekly routine. Many folks talk about connection and community, often unaware of what it really means. We’re blessed. Because with the candor, the vulnerability, the wisdom, and the kinship brought to the Bench, we’ve discovered the true meaning of authentic connection. We quickly learned that in times of chaos & uncertainty and even in times of peace & tranquility, we’re simply better together.

I can’t think of a better place to rest than on Our Friendship Bench. One where every week I find trust; to connect with people beyond borders; to find connection without judgement; to feel inspired and part of a family, and; to evolve through uncertainty to a place of love.

~Paula Goodman 

What’s Next?

Next up is our long-planned break shared with you all here: Radical Sabbatical – a chance for us to step back before we leap forward into the new year, followed by the convening of our re-imagined, richer, broader, bolder Bench when we reconvene at a new start time —11:30 AM EST every Thursday, beginning February 17th, 2022 All celebrated by the introduction of a new paint job – replacing The Friendship Bench with OUR Friendship Bench to recognize and embrace the notion that it’s owned by everyone who takes a seat, complemented by new colors to more visibly reflect our intentional quest from day one to be more inclusive.
GETTING THE MOST WITH MORE HOSTS: Our good friends Toni McClelland (UK) and Mac Bogert will be stepping up to join Melissa Hughes and me as rotating weekly Friendship Bench Hosts, PLUS we’ll be reaching out far and wide to bring along more guest co-hosts with more fresh topics.

Friendship is what makes people move to the middle when there is plenty of room at both ends of the bench.

Time to Take Discover YOUR Magic?

Challenging times such as these call for more human connection – not less. Across the globe, people are searching for hope, recovery, and a brighter future. Of course, it will take time. But no matter how isolated we may feel, we are not alone in our desire for a safe place to connect, listen, and be heard. And that’s what Our Bench is all about. It’s for anyone and everyone seeking the comfort of unconditional belonging, sharing, listening, engaging, and supporting.

Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
―Anais Nin

Let’s come together as a global community —as we share positive perspectives on the upside-down world around us. Real people. Real discussion. Positively inspiring. We’ll be taking our seats on the Bench every Thursday at 11:30 AM Eastern, resuming Thursday, February 17th, 2022. Don’t wait —CLICK BELOW to reserve your seat “for good”. ⤵


Rich, adult conversations. Thoughtful engagement. Real relationships. Humanity at its very best …

Dennis Pitoccohttps://www.bizcatalyst360.com/
DENNIS is Founder & CEO & Reimaginator of 360° Nation, encompassing a wide range of multimedia enterprises, including BizCatalyst 360° —an award-winning global media digest; 360° Nation Studios —dedicated to reaching across the world in an effort to capture, produce, and deliver positive, uplifting messages via game-changing productions such as HopeFest 360°, and; GoodWorks 360° —a pro-bono consulting foundation focused entirely on providing mission-critical advisory services to nonprofits worldwide. Everything Dennis does is carried out "for-good" vs. "for-profit", reflecting his belief that it’s time for a renaissance of pure, unbridled wonder. Time to renew in both our hearts and in our souls more joy, more kindness, more compassion, more understanding, and that magical sense of truly belonging to something greater than the status quo. And time to bring the spirit of “humanity at its very best” back to the forefront. More about his "backstory" HERE. Dennis is also a contributing author to the Best-Selling Book Chaos to Clarity: Sacred Stories of Transformational Change.


  1. Hello Dennis ..
    Multiplied thanks you for sharing this – the video helped me to better understand the roots & vision of the Friendship Bench 🙏

    “A Friendship Bench within walking distance of all.” – Dixon Chibanda

    “Friendship is what makes people move to the middle when there is plenty of room at both ends of the bench.” 🙏

    “Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” – Anais Nin

    (comment repeated on LI)

  2. Truly blessed to have this space …where a soul can rest and breathe the spirit of true human relationships that the soul needs. Not only are we gathering, we are discovering…what it means to feel value at the core. Thank you Dennis, your welcome sign and simple invitation 84…weeks ago has become a permanent date on my digital and heart’s calendar
    See you there again my friend. Love to you all. My family of choice🙏

  3. What is so exciting is the experience of becoming community, encountering friends I haven’t met yet, and embracing each other with the collective intention of assisting the world to be a better place through providing a warm and inviting environment to grow our own magic and connections to the greater whole. It’s how we support the flipping of old paradigms into the new living awareness that elevates all our experience. I feel honored and privileged to have found, or been led to, this wonderful platform and the people that populate it.