Butterfly House opens
The Butterfly House opened June 22 and Danna Deaton, founder, called it a miracle from God.
The project began as a faith vision in 2011 and Deaton gives praise to the many people who have generously supported the cause with donations, prayers and labor.
The house on Baltimore Street in Manila was purchased in December of 2014. Work began transforming the older home into a safe environment for women starting anew in life. It is a place where lives, as well as families, will be restored. In just a few months, the house was ready for residents.
There is a plaque in the sitting room that reads, "Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly...."
"Our goals for our residents include family restructure and restoration and independent living," Deaton said.
The fully staffed house has a house manager, program director, head teacher and its first resident.
"We are excited," Deaton said.
The Butterfly House will provide support and help for women coming out of a rehabilitation facility or prison and re-entering the real world.
Too many times these women do not have a place to go and too many fall back into the same pattern.
"The relapse and reincarceration rate is so high in Arkansas as is that missing peace that is needed from rehab or jail to the real world. We are their family and a healthy support system," Deaton said.
The Butterfly House staff and volunteers will provide accountability, support, structure, guidance, employment and education opportunities and help guide residents through the complex system they have to deal with.
It coordinates with DHS, Medicaid, employers, local adult education and much more.
The first resident of the Butterfly House took the GED assessment test, signed up for services she qualified for and received gainful employment all in her first week. Transportation is provided to and from work and appointments.
The Butterfly House has received accreditation from the Arkansas Department of Community Corrections to receive non-violent offenders from the Arkansas prison system.
The home is equipped for four residents.
The windows were recently replaced with new windows.
"We had a campaign for the old windows to be replaced by new, energy efficient windows," Deaton said. "New windows were purchased in memory of loved ones. Each one will have a brass nameplate attached in memory."
People reached out in the campaign and enough funding was raised to replace all 17 windows. Some of the older windows have been used as decorative hangings in the house as a symbol of how God can change old lives into new ones.
A prayer garden gazebo is being constructed by Southworth employees giving the women a place to go for quiet time. The custom bunk beds were made by Mt. Zion Baptist Association and the mattresses were donated by Gamble Home Furnishings. The floors were refinished by Dennis Seyler and Ricky Cherry. John Finley, Ray Dill and Bobby Walton built wooden shutters.
"We have had so many volunteers who have worked on the house, the yard and other projects, the list is huge," Deaton said. "They have all done it for the glory of God."
There are still needs including a vehicle, fence, and continuing to make the monthly operational budget.
"Many people have helped make this a reality," she said. "We have local churches, individuals and businesses that donate on a regular basis. We have had fundraisers through the years."
Plans are to start a $10 campaign. Deaton pointed out if 500 people could afford to give $10 a month it would be a huge campaign for a small monthly donation.
The Butterfly House has long had a logo, "Butterfly House where transformations begin." The BFH is free to residents, but when employment is gained, they will start paying rent according to how much they make in order to learn how to budget and gain independence.
There will be an open house and dedication from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, July 19.
The Butterfly House is located at 329 Baltimore Street in Manila.