The Butterfly House: Where transformations begin


Chloe Pierce

People are akin to butterflies in that they each have their own personal metamorphosis.  The insipid caterpillar may spin itself into a cocoon and become a captivating moth, or form a chrysalis and emerge a brilliant butterfly.  Just as these larvae transform into a better version of themselves, humans do the very same. We learn, grow, and become better than we used to be.  LeeAnn Taylor, author of The Fragile Face of God,  once put this into words, saying, “We are all butterflies.  Earth is our chrysalis.”


Nonetheless, sometimes we need help shedding the behaviors that hold us back.  The Butterfly House provides this assistance, using a faith-based, 12-step recovery program for women who have completed a long-term drug treatment program or are recently released from incarceration.


The 12-step program includes structured biblical curriculum as well as additional classes that can help with their transition into public life.  These classes teach life skills for both parenting and budgeting. Before graduating from the program, all residents will receive their GED and will be given help with job placement and training.


Another important aspect of the program is helping the women establish a beneficial support system through their local church and the community therein.  This—as well as the mentorship they receive—help them break free from addictive behaviors that hold them back and the cycle of incarceration they find themselves stuck in.


Started in 2011, the Butterfly House spent its primitive years raising money and awareness.  Once they raised enough money, they purchased a home and—in June of 2015—opened their facility.  The organization receives some government funding, but the vast majority comes from private donations from local churches, businesses, and corporations.  They also raise money by selling t-shirts that promote their program. These are available for purchase on their website.


Executive Director of the Butterfly House, Danna Scott Deaton, explains how the program benefits the women enrolled in an interview conducted by the BIC E.A.S.T. Initiative in early 2016, saying: “We help these ladies become the mom, the wife, [and] the daughter that they need to be.  Children of women that are in prison or in treatment are either in foster care or with other family members, and so how we help is we reunify families which builds stronger communities, stronger schools, and a stronger state and nation.” Deaton explains.


The steps toward transformation can be difficult and vary from person-to-person.  The women released from prison not only need help transitioning into public life, but they also have to struggle with finding a job.  No matter what the offense, these women are labeled as felons in the same way that a kid who gets in trouble in elementary school is labeled a “problem child.”  Those with drug-related offenses not only have to fight this battle, but also the battle of addiction.


Deaton, who is currently an advanced practice nurse at several clinics in the area and President of the Butterfly House Board, explains what made her want to start this organization and her personal attachments to it.


“What made me want to start this organization is that I am a recovering addict and when I came home from treatment in 2007, I was blessed to come home to a loving, supportive, Christian family who were very encouraging.  They held me very accountable and there were no alcoholics or drug addicts in my family, and so I had no temptation or negative influences. I was also blessed with an education and a great career that I could go back to and God placed a desire in my heart to start this organization because I represent a very small number of the population of recovering addicts, so every woman deserves the chance that I got.”


The sole purpose of the Butterfly House is to help women achieve a life of normalcy and freedom from the things that hold them back.  Being in an environment that is consistent, structured, and positive, as well as behavior modification and coping skills, help them with their re-entrance into society.  Gaining a sense of community within their church and other women inside the House helps them realize that they are not alone in their journey and there are people who want to help them turn their life around.  In doing this, they form a stronger bond with their family, with Christ, and with themselves.


When asked about the meaning of the name of the organization, Deaton said: “The meaning of the Butterfly House was inspired by the butterfly itself and the transformation that occurs through its life.  The Butterfly begins as a caterpillar, but when you extract DNA from a caterpillar, that DNA shows [it is a] Butterfly—just like how God designs all of us to be. The butterfly, before it becomes beautiful and can fly, it goes through some dark and really challenging times in its life.  It starts off as a worm, [it] crawls, it can only have access to the things around it. Then, it spins a cocoon around itself so it’s enclosed in a very dark and tight space and it has to literally fight its way out of that cocoon. If you cut into a cocoon and help the butterfly try to escape, it will die because the strength needed to get out of the cocoon also strengthens the wings.  It helps to formulate the creature itself and God has that designed perfectly—just like our lives— in order for that butterfly to become the beautiful creature that is is. Also, butterflies do not live very long once they become a butterfly and that reminds us, too, that our lives are very short and we have to do and become what God created us to be [for] the short time while we are here, to help others and just share the love of Christ with others.”


So, just like butterflies, we humans also need to fight our own battles.  Places like the Butterfly House provide the help we need to take the next step, but ultimately our own belief and desire to get better is needed before any change can take place.


“Our organization is essential to our area when it comes to reuniting families that have been torn apart by addiction and incarceration.  Addiction destroys the family. When Mom is an addict, the entire family’s world is disrupted. When moms get clean and stay clean, and learn to love and thrive in the world without using drugs or alcohol to cope. . . the whole community wins. Home, school, employers and communities. We all win.” Deaton said.


The Butterfly House is located in Manila, Arkansas.  If you or a loved one is interested in applying for residency in the program, visit their website at and fill out the application.  The application, as well as donations via check, can be mailed or emailed to the organization.  All contact information is listed below.



The Butterfly House

P.O. Box 1132

Manila, AR 72442



[email protected]