By Tony Diaz (’21)
Since 2011, Loras College Du-Buddies, a student-led organization, has been practicing inclusion and celebrating the dignity of all humans. Du-Buddies leadership pairs Loras students with adults with disabilities from the Tri-State area. The group hosts social activities that meet once a month, holiday-themed parties, a talent show and educational awareness campaigns.
Last month, the group received the “All Are Welcome Exclusivity Award” from the Archdiocese of Dubuque and celebrated Mass with the Archbishop. Each year, between 40-70 Loras students serve 30-50 adults with disabilities.
Buddies from Dubuque are referred to this Loras student organization from multiple non-profit partner organizations, that serve people with disabilities in Dubuque, including Hills & Dales, ARK Advocates and Area Residential Care.
“[We] challenge ourselves, in partnership with the larger community of Dubuque, to learn more about a social issue and then act together to bring about social justice through serving, [that] is consistent with our College mission and exhibited by the dedication Duhawks strive to show to one another, their community and fellow human beings each day at Loras,” service learning coordinator Maggie Baker said.
The positive impact that Du-Buddies brings to many lives is unique, and something that we as a campus and community can learn and grow from.
Du-Buddies is dedicated to ending the social, physical, and economic isolation of those with disabilities,” Du-Buddies E-Board member Anna Folliard (’20) said. “Our purpose is to foster one-on-one friendships between people with disabilities and people without disabilities around the Dubuque community.”
Du-Buddies is modeled after Best Buddies International, the world’s largest organization dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation of the 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.