What's New at Best Friends?

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The Return of Backyard Buddies

Backyard Buddies aims to bring children together with caring adult mentors and is a collaborative program with Neenah Joint School District, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin-Fox Valley, ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah and Best Friends of Neenah-Menasha. Team members from Children’s Hospital and ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah are matched with a student at Roosevelt Elementary or Alliance Charter School – just across the street (or in their backyard) from the medical complex.  Buddies meet once a week during the school year at lunch, to learn, create, read books, play games, practice spelling and math and just hang out.  Best Friends of Neenah-Menasha coordinates the program.


“We are very excited to offer the Backyard Buddy program again.  We saw real impact from the program last time.  Kids have more confidence and really like having another person that cares about them”, said Diane Luft, Principal at Alliance Charter and Roosevelt elementary schools.


MaryBeth Matzek

MaryBeth Matzek

Welcome our Newest Board Member

Best Friends of Neenah-Menasha is excited to welcome a new member to our board of directors.  MaryBeth Matzek recently joined the Board of Directors of Best Friends. She is the managing editor for Insight Publications, which publishes several business-to-business magazines. MaryBeth has been a journalist in the Fox Cities for 20 years, working as a reporter and editor at The Post-Crescent, a freelance writer for local and regional publications and organizations and now as managing editor at Insight.

MaryBeth has extensive volunteer and board experience, lending her time to several organizations including the American Red Cross-Outagamie County, Saving Paws Animal Rescue, Orphan Animals Rescue Service, Mid-Day Business & Professional Women, Xavier Catholic Schools and her church. She also volunteers as a soccer coach with Kimberly Area Soccer Club and coached her daughter’s school basketball team for five years.

An avid cyclist, MaryBeth first learned about Best Friends through the annual Bike Tour fundraiser. She and her husband, Joe, live in Darboy with their two children.