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Buddy Baseball

Buddy Baseball, formerly known as Rising Stars Buddy Baseball, was started by the Wheaton Junior Woman' Club in 1991 with 7 players and 11 buddies.  In 2023, we welcomed 69 players and 75 buddies.  This project encompasses what it means to do service work for the community and is easily the most meaningful 5 weeks of the WJWC club calendar.


Buddy Baseball is a five week baseball program for children with special needs, ages five and up that utilizes the “buddy system”: children and young adults with special needs are paired with able-bodied buddies.  Volunteer buddies are children of Wheaton Juniors, friends, and family of athletes at least 13 years of age. The camp includes scrimmage games with an emphasis on baseball skills.

July 9, 16, 23, 30 and August 6th

Briar Patch Park

1700 Briarcliff Blvd Wheaton, IL 60187

"Ask any parent what they want most for their child, and they would probably answer something like 'I want he/she to be healthy and happy'. Ask any parent of a special needs child what they want most for their child and . . . they of course would want the same. As life unfolds for these special people we as parents, and community seek out opportunities for those goals. The Wheaton Jrs. Rising Star Buddy Baseball Program took on this mission 18 years ago. Seeking happiness for your child is a tricky thing . . . because it usually comes naturallly with a child's abilities/skills and involvement in different activities, building social relationships simultaneously. But . . . what about those individuals who don't have the ability/talent/skill/social contacts to create the happiness . . . the sense of belonging? Buddy Baseball has provided that "space" where people are people, welcomed unconditionally. Yes, everyone makes the team, you don't worry about who you're playing, you're thankful you have a coach, and all parents yell and scream on the sidelines for all the children . . . imagine that!!! Come see a game and witness the ear to ear smile on a nonambulatory child "running" to 1st base, or a child with a walker cross home plate, or hear my daughter yell to her brothers . . . "Boys, I did it, I did it", as she smacks the ball for the first time without use of the tee! Happiness is not what the scoreboard dictates, but what your heart feels as a founder, a coordinator, a coach, a photographer capturing the thrills, a parent, a grandparent, or a player when walking off the field. To us as parents nothing speaks louder then when our rather quiet, expressive language delayed "girly girl" says "I had fun" on our way to the ice cream parlor. Oh . . . and you think the players had fun, just ask a buddy what they feel . . . . . . . . happiness for all at a sporting event???....WOW. "

Dungan Family

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