DeWitt boy hosts hot cocoa stand to support a good cause

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DEWITT, Mich. (WLNS) – A young boy in DeWitt is making a major difference in his community one cup of hot chocolate at a time.

Meet Bennett Starmer. He’s 9-years-old and a third grader at Scott Elementary School in Dewitt. He also has Down syndrome, but he’s not letting that stop him from having a big influence on those around him.

“He’s an inspiration to us and the community, so kudos to him,” said Bennett’s father Ed Starmer.

Bennett had the idea to host a hot cocoa stand on his front lawn. The goal is to help an organization called ‘Buddy’s PALS.’

The group goes into local classrooms with trained dogs to help kids with everyday learning. It’s something that’s touched Bennett very close to home.

“It gets him to school on Mondays when he doesn’t want to go; it gets him excited about learning things when he’s reluctant to do it otherwise,” said Ed’s mother Corey Starmer.

“It’s amazing what an animal, the effect it will have on you, on your heart,” said Joan Spagnuolo, one of the founders of Buddy’s PALS.

Joan Spagnuolo and Lolie Fabela started the program.

“There’s not one child that we cannot help in any school, in any situation,” said Spagnuolo.

“He’s thrived and made really great educational gains since Buddy’s been part of the classroom,” said Corey Starmer.

“This little kid like this makes it all worthwhile,” said Fabela.

If you’d like to donate to Buddy’s PALS, click here.

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