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

Friendship is what makes people move to the middle when there is plenty of room at both ends of the bench.Time to grab your seat where the magic happens?

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. Don’t wait —CLICK BELOW to reserve your seat “for good”. ⤵


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

Dennis Pitocco
Dennis Pitocco
Dennis is the visionary founder of 360° Nation, a multimedia venture aimed at spreading positivity worldwide. Along with his wife Ali, his Chief Inspiration Officer, Dennis heads BizCatalyst 360°, an award-winning global media platform; 360° Nation Studios, which produces uplifting content and events; and GoodWorks 360°, providing pro bono consulting to nonprofits. Their driving mission for over a decade has been to highlight the best of humanity and use their resources to make the world better each day. Dennis and Ali believe in being present, caring for those they serve, and giving their time, talents and treasures "for good" rather than profit. A contributing author to several best-selling books, Dennis is committed to transformational change and holistic wellness. He and Ali aim to exemplify responsible stewardship while influencing and showcasing humanity's highest potentials.

DO YOU HAVE THE "WRITE" STUFF? If you’re ready to share your wisdom of experience, we’re ready to share it with our massive global audience – by giving you the opportunity to become a published Contributor on our award-winning Site with (your own byline). And who knows? – it may be your first step in discovering your “hidden Hemmingway”. LEARN MORE HERE


  1. First article I have actually read on BizCatalyst360 . Loved finding out about this initiative inspired by Dixon Chibanda. I checked out his site also at and visited the featured page at the Centre for Global Mental Health This is a great first impression of bizcatalyst360 – anytime I making notes on my personal email and sending myself links, it means I touched or found something profound to think about. Great share !

  2. There are special people who enter our lives, giving us so many joys and positive sensations that we would never have been able to feel otherwise.
    Each of the people I’ve met on this platform and who have done me the honor of speaking with me is unique and special. But I want to underline something which I warn, every time I have an exchange of views with a member of this Community: humanity, the universally recognized (but rare) sentiment that should identifie each of us, which makes us similar, resembling, close, supportive, united. In short, humans.
    Good Life to everyone.

  3. 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)

  4. 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🙏

  5. 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.