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 

Getting The Most With More Hosts

Our good friends Toni McClelland (UK) and Mac Bogert have joined Melissa Hughes and me as rotating weekly Friendship Bench Hosts, And we’ll be reaching out far and wide to bring along more special 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. 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 Founder & Chief ReImaginator of 360° Nation, encompassing a wide range of multimedia enterprises, including BizCatalyst 360° —the 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 blockbuster global events, and; GoodWorks 360° —a pro-bono consulting foundation focused entirely on providing mission-critical advisory services to nonprofits worldwide. Collaborating with his Chief Inspiration Officer (and wife), Ali, everything they do is "for-good" vs. "for-profit". Their mission over the past decade-plus has been to rediscover humanity at its best, influencing and showcasing it every step of the way. Together, they do their very best to figure out what the world is trying to be —then using all their resources to help it to be better every day in every way. They understand and embrace the notion that it’s not about me or you; it’s about caring for the people we serve and more responsibly stewarding the precious resources in our care. And they believe it’s about showing up, being present, and intentionally giving our invaluable gifts of time, talent, and treasure "for good". Dennis is a contributing author to the Best-Selling Books ♦ Chaos to Clarity: Sacred Stories of Transformational ChangeJourney Well, You Are More Than EnoughThe Four-Fold Formula For All Things Wellness: True Stories of the Heart, Spirit, Mind, and Body.

SOLD OUT! JOIN OUR WAITING LIST! It's not a virtual event. It's not a conference. It's not a seminar, a meeting, or a symposium. It's not about attracting a big crowd. It's not about making a profit, but rather about making a real difference. LEARN MORE HERE



  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.