Young Butterflies
Cheer Elderly

Watch This Video
Windows Media
High Resolution Downloads

Some of the best medicine for older people doesn’t come from the pharmacy. Visits from young people like those in a group called The Butterflies can make shut-ins smile. Lilla Marigza reports.

 New Items | Additional Stories | Archives


(Locator: Hamlet, North Carolina)

(Girls singing)

These butterflies make spirits soar.

Ida Covington, 76-years-old: “I really enjoy them.”

Amaya Flowers, 6-years-old: “I love being a Butterfly.”

The Butterflies are young girls from Saint Peter United Methodist Church in Hamlet, North Carolina.

Several times a month, they call on those who are ill, in nursing homes, or just feeling blue. Eighty-eight-year-old Ethel Roary looks forward to the visits.

Ethel Roary, 88-years-old: “Makes me feel real good. Even feel much younger.”

The girls hand out cards and gifts, lead prayer… “Amen” …and show off their dancing. Pastor Angelo Troy recalls a recent visit.

The Rev. Angelo Troy, Pastor, St. Peter United Methodist: “I had a relative to die. The Butterflies came over. They sang a song and had a prayer, and that uplifted me so much.”

Ten-year-old Briana Allen says the group’s name has a special meaning.

Briana Allen, 10-years-old: “In my classroom while we were talking about the metamorphosis of a butterfly for science, something just popped up and it said, ‘That could be a name of the group.’”

Program founder Betty Ewing witnesses the transformation. Girls bond with their elders and look to them for guidance.

Betty Ewing, Butterflies Sponsor: “A lot of them, they’ll sit down and they’ll talk to the girls: 'Respect your aunt,' you know. 'Do the right things. Don’t hang with the bad crowd.'”

There are seven butterflies, ages six to 12. Amaya Flowers says they’re often invited back for repeat performances.

Amaya Flowers, 6-years-old: “Some of them said that, ‘Could you come another day and come see us again, because your voices sound good.’”

The Rev. Angelo Troy: “I think they’ll look back on this in their life and this will be an important part of their life that they will never forget.”


Betty Ewing says she’s been contacted by other churches interested in starting a similar program. More information on the Butterflies is available from Saint Peter United Methodist Church at 910-582-6133.

Posted: June 1, 2010