Butterfly Bridge spreading its wings to further outreach in the community

Published 3:05 pm Monday, June 13, 2022

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Butterfly Bridge Children’s Advocacy Center set a new benchmark for the number of services they provided in 2022. (FILE | ADVERTISER)

By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

The Butterfly Bridge Children’s Advocacy Center in Clanton set a new mark for their specialized services in 2020-2021. In the impact report for 2020-21, the nonprofit showed increases in both the number of total services provided and the impact and outreach in the Chilton County community throughout the year. Butterfly Bridge helped 382 children.

“We have provided more services this past year than ever before,” Butterfly Bridge Executive Director Jana Zuelzke said. “We have seen a great increase in a number of our services, and the mental health therapy services have been the ones we have seen increase the most. Over the last two years, we have had an increase from 2019 until last year of about 86% more therapy services we are providing to child and adolescent victims of abuse.”

The total number of services provided by Butterfly Bridge rose to 6,840 in 2020-2021 from 5,207 in 2019-2020. Those included 2,584 advocacy care services throughout the criminal justice process for families, 2,511 therapy sessions for children, 1,312 cases reviewed, 397 forensic interviews conducted and 36 multidisciplinary team meetings.

Zuelzke said the pandemic compounded a lot of trauma the children they serve had been through, and the mental health problems grew to be more severe. That contributed to the services increase as well.

Butterfly Bridge was able to assist children throughout the year while moving into a bigger building in Clanton.

“With changes and milestones ahead of us, we continue to look toward the future of our community’s children and remain steadfast in our commitment of being a safe haven to those we serve,” Zuelzke said in a press release. “… As the need for our services continues to grow, you have shown us how dedicated you are to the children in your community, and we are in awe. Your dedication and support help ensure all children have access to the services they need — no matter the circumstances.”

The impact and outreach numbers showed great improvement in the report as well for Butterfly Bridge. Over 1,900 community professionals were trained in child abuse-related topics, and 1,293 community members were informed about the ways to prevent child abuse.

The number of children equipped with prevention information rose from 100 in 2019-2020 to 518 in 2020-2021. The Chilton County schools help educate children and teach about abuse prevention. Zuelzke said she sometimes accompanies these talks and provides information on some of the targeted awareness such as safety on technology. Butterfly Bridge has partnered with the YMCA of Chilton County to attend the summer programs weekly to educate the kids on prevention.

The outreach on social media also reached a new high growing from 17,500 people reached in 2019-20 to 32,851 people reached in 2020-2021.

“We have really done a targeted effort to increase our education through our social media,” Zuelzke said. “We have really seen our social media site grow more and more, and I feel like that has been what we wanted to happen which is to reach more people than every through those social media posts.”

The Butterfly Bridge’s net assets rose greatly in 2020-2021. In 2019-2020, the nonprofit had $162,890 in net assets. That number grew to $405,987 in 2020-2021. The capital campaign was launched in the summer of 2021, and it was fully funded in within a few months, which Zuelzke said contributed greatly to the growth of assets.

“We were very fortunate, even during the pandemic to have had great support, not only from the community but also from our normal grantors as well,” Zuelzke said. “We just continue to have wonderful support even through hard times, and that means a lot to us because as you can see, we need the support due to all of the services that we are providing.”

Butterfly Bridge Children’s Advocacy Center is celebrating its 10-year anniversary throughout the 2022 calendar year.