They say when you find your purpose, the road appears in front of you. That is exactly what happened when Project White Butterfly was created out of an idea to stay busy hanging up notes around the Cleveland area, hit hard by the opioid epidemic, one night. We were a few friends, who had all met in recovery, tired of losing people close to us to overdoses. We wanted to remind individuals with addiction of the resources available in our community and that there are many people, who have been in their shoes, willing to help them find the road to recovery.
This mission is close to my heart, as an individual who has a lived experience in addiction and now in recovery for the last five years. From personal experience, and feedback from those touched by the work already carried out by Project White Butterfly, it is evident that our support makes an impact on those affected by substance use disorder.
Since our beginning in August of 2019, Project White Butterfly has:
- Become a registered non-profit organization in the state of Ohio.
- Dramatically increased the amount of followers on our social media accounts. As of June 1st 2021 we have 2,907 followers on our Facebook page, 3,358 members in our Butterfly Support group on Facebook, and 498 followers on Instagram.
Click here to visit our Facebook page
Click here to visit our Instagram page
- Project White Butterfly has been highlighted on local news stations on three occasions, as well as been the focus of several print articles. Click HERE to visit our media page.
- We have 4 volunteers who help monitor our Facebook Butterfly Support group
- In 2021, The Woodrow Project received SOR 2.0 funding allocated to purchase supplies and support the work of Project White Butterfly. Thanks to this funding, and the amazing guidance from the director of The Woodrow Project, Project White Butterfly now operates with 1 full time worker and 1 part time worker to carry out community outreach and help individuals with addiction find a path into recovery.
- We have distributed 19,000 Project White Butterfly cards across 16 different states, Canada, and The United Kingdom at the request of followers on our social media.
- We have donated holiday gifts to two residential treatment centers. In December 2019 we donated 30 gifts bags and dinner to the women at Catholic Charities Matt Talbot for Women and in December of 2020 we donated 70 gift bags and catering from Ohio City Burrito to the men’s dorm at Stella Maris as well as their women’s facility The Walton House.
- We have donated 30 Alcoholics Anonymous Big Books to Y-Haven Transitional Housing residents.
- Project White Butterfly regularly engages community members, residents in treatment centers, and high school students to help assemble the cards we hang throughout the community. These cards are the catalyst we use to connect with individuals in need of our services. Please click HERE to request a card kit.
- In May 2021, our founder, Sara Szelagowski, received the Helping Hands Award from the ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County. The ADAMHS Board shared the following statement on their social media accounts: “Sara Szelagowski is receiving a Helping Hands Award because of her continued commitment to meeting people, who are struggling with substance use disorders, where they are through Project White Butterfly. Her encouragement and efforts to address harm reduction and stigma are changing lives and supporting sustained recovery in our community. Congratulations, Sara!”
- Since 2019, we have distributed over 440 Narcan kitsat community events and outreach efforts. We are grateful to partner agencies Project Dawn, Harm Reduction Ohio, and Homeless Hookup CLE for making it possible for us to bring Narcan to the community in our early days and we are happy to announce that as of April 2021, Project White Butterfly has been established as a service entity with Ohio Central Pharmacy.
This means we can now purchase and distribute naloxone directly from Ohio Central Pharmacy.
- Most importantly, Project White Butterfly has provided resources, connection to agencies, and recovery support to approximately 446 individuals affected by addiction.
My brother-in-law, Justin Terlop, died of a drug overdose in 2018. He was 30 years old. He left behind an eleven-year-old son, a beautiful girlfriend, and a family that still feels the pain of his absence every day.
The day he died, I saw a white butterfly flying around our yard. The moment I saw that white butterfly I felt something, a sense of peace came over me. Justin is the inspiration for using a white butterfly as the symbol of our mission to help individuals who are trapped in the darkness of addiction.
If you are an individual with substance use disorder and need help connecting to resources, have questions, or would just like to talk to someone who has a lived experience in addiction – Send us a message by clicking on the chat bubble on the bottom of the page.
Project White Butterfly has avenues for both individuals and groups to become involved in the heartfelt work we do to carry out our mission of reaching individuals with substance use disorder and connecting them to supportive resources – Find out how you can help us by clicking HERE
To help create a healthy environment for individuals on their journey to recovery, Project White Butterfly understands the importance of educating members of the community on topics ranging from harm reduction to eliminating barriers for individuals with substance use disorder. Please visit our blog for more information about how you can become an advocate for those with substance use disorder by clicking HERE