Benet Buddies: How It Began and Where It Is Now


Benet Academy

Benet Buddies volunteers pose for a group picture.

Editor’s Note: This piece was also posted in the Benet Herald 2023 Graduation Edition.

Benet Academy’s largest club emerged in the 2020-2021 school year when seniors Emma Duffy and Maggie Schatz proposed the idea of starting a group where students could foster relationships with those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Since then, the club has grown from 100 members to almost 200 members. The club partners with Turning Pointe Autism Foundation, South East Association for Special Parks and Recreation (SEASPAR), and Special Olympics. Each partner offers monthly events such as sports games, dances, and craft parties. The activities provide service hours and a “fulfilling experience” according to Benet Academy Junior Emelia Kim. As a member of the club’s board, Kim shared her appreciation for the 2022-2023 senior board members: President Brinkley Douglas, Vice President Maddy Temple, and Secretary Jack Ryan. Kim said, “I am so thankful for all of the seniors’ hard work. They set an incredible example of leadership and inclusion.” As a result of the club’s service and dedication, Benet Buddies was nominated for the Ervin Kendzora Book of Golden Deeds Award. This award is given to those in the Dupage County area who are “sincere about helping the community.” Carrie Provenzale from Turning Pointe Autism Foundation nominated Benet Academy for the award saying, “Their time, values, and care can make a difference in the lives of autistic teens… honoring and recognizing them through this beautiful award would be most appreciated.” Benet Buddies turned from merely an idea to an award-nominated, diverse, and well-known club.