Butterfly House Founder Speaks to Rector Lions Club

Thursday, January 14, 2016
Danna Deaton, as she spoke to the Rector Lions Club.(TD photo/Ron Kemp)

"We are created by God with a purpose, and that is to show His love to others."

That was the opening message by Danna Deaton as she presented the efforts of the Butterfly House at last week's meeting of the Rector Lions Club.

The Butterfly House is the effort by one woman, and ultimately a community, to bring hope to women who are facing the many obstacles that come from substance abuse, incarceration, lack of education and absence of a viable lifestyle plan.

The facility is located in Manila and provides a "healthy support system" for women in need. Deaton, who at one point faced her own problems due to prescription pain medication addiction after the birth of her first child, said the Butterfly House is a "transitional living home" that helps women "enter back into the real world" after incarceration. She said the transition is challenging for women because so many have limited skills and face extreme difficult in obtaining adequate employment.

The Butterfly House, according to Deaton, offers assistance in several ways -- safe drug-free housing, accountability, employment, educational life purpose, navigation through the complex social services system, pairing with a mentor, discipling-teaching and finding a church home.

She said the re-incarceration rate for women who leave prison is 43 percent and 47 percent are unemployed.

She and her husband John stepped out on faith to begin the Butterfly House and raised more than $67,000 for the purchase and renovation of a small house in Manila to begin the mission project. Four women can live in the facility at a time and round-the-clock assistance is provided through employment of staff and use of volunteers. It is an mission that involves many Christian denominations in the area and various churches and individuals pledge to provide ongoing support.

"Drugs are why our prisons are overflowing," Deaton said. "There are multifaceted problems, all related to drugs.

"We have to help people in this situation," she told the Lions. "My passion is to speak to people like you in every community in Northeast Arkansas. Every community in this area needs a Butterfly House."

Deaton, who is a nurse by profession, said she will work with any community in the area interested in establishing a similar facility.

"We are all in this together," she said. "These women are coming back to our communities whether we like it or not -- and we have to help them...the lack of a healthy mother in the home is devastating."

She said the Butterfly House has four components for success -- a moral rehabilitation, a vocation (or life purpose), an education that can provide a sustainable income and mentoring.

"We exist to provide safe housing and a Christ-like atmosphere that promotes discipleship and family reunification," she says in a brochure presented at the Lions Club meeting.

Persons who want to donate, volunteer or find out more concerning the Butterfly House may telephone 870-570-0300 or email the butterflyhouse@ymail.com

The facility is located at 329 South Baltimore in Manila.

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