Jelly Boswell (2017 intern), from left, La-Chandra Prim, Jana Zuelzke, Alena Cherry, Stephanie Harris and Lisa Nicholas at Flutter 2017.


Photos Contributed



The butterflies on the wall made the room cheery, despite the traumatic reason she had come.

Each time, she commented about “coming to the butterfly place.”

This little girl became the inspiration for the name of the Clanton Children’s Advocacy Center as it spread its wings as its own organization.

Previously, it had simply been a satellite site for the Montgomery’s Child Protect Children’s Advocacy Center. When Chilton County’s office became an independent nonprofit, board members chose the name Butterfly Bridge Children’s Advocacy Center.

The center serves children who have been victims of sexual abuse, severe physical abuse and those who have witnessed a violent crime.

Executive Director Jana Zuelzke said the organization uses the butterfly as a symbol of that even though ugly things have happened, these children can move forward and still have happiness in their lives.

Services include forensic interviews, counseling, family advocacy and other family support services as a case moves through the legal system. All of these services are offered for free.

Brittani Ellison of Butterfly Bridge said the interviews are conducted while law enforcement watches on closed circuit TV to limit the number of times a child has to tell his or her story.

Zuelzke said the forensic interviewers have special training, and the interviews are held in a child-friendly environment.

All children served by Butterfly Bridge are referred by the Department of Human Resources or law enforcement.

“I feel like we are making an impact on these children and on their lives, because when they get the services, they can move forward and their life, isn’t defined by the abuse,” Zuelzke said.

In order to keep services available, Butterfly Bridge holds annual fundraisers. A concert of local musicians and singers was the organizations first main event. An art auction was added, and the event continued to grow.

“There has been quite an evolution to the event,” Zuelzke said.

Today, it is known as Flutter.

This year Flutter will be held on Feb. 1 at the Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Zuelzke said Flutter is a social event with heavy hors d’oeuvres catered by the Jemison Culinary Arts students.

Ellison said the presentation and the food are wonderful. The students work to incorporate the theme into the food and the presentation.

“They have just blown us away the past few years,” Zuelzke said.

Attendees “mix and mingle” with other attendees throughout the event.

A silent and live auction are also held. Zuelzke said the live auction is held at the end of the event, giving people time to view the auction items and decide what they want to bid on.

Art, jewelry, vacation packages and trips are some of the highlights of the auction.

Ellison said the items are divided by value and there is something for everyone.

“It is not a sit-down dinner, so (it’s) very social and, of course, we have a time toward the middle or the end of the event when we bring everyone’s focus to why they are there and talk about the mission of the organization,” Zuelzke said.

Live music will be played by Darryl, Cody and Cameron Cummings of Better Than Nothing Band throughout the event.

Each year, the organization staff and a committee of volunteers pick a fun theme for the social fundraiser.

Boots and Butterflies is the theme this year. Ellison described it as a “southern country theme.”

In 2017, the theme was Mardi Gras.

“We try to do something fun that people can be involved in,” Ellison said.

This year the group wanted a more casual theme.

“Once people come, they do continue to come back because it is really a fun time, it is not a typical auction or a typical fundraiser,” Ellison said. “I think it is really fun for the community … it has grown every year.”

Butterfly Bridge staff and board members are on-hand to offer more information and insight into the organization’s services throughout the event.

“It is all for the kids who have suffered some pretty horrific experiences,” Zuelzke said. “It is really encouraging to me just to see how that number of people who attend the fundraiser just goes up every year and how people want to support the children in our community that need to the most.”

Flutter raises approximately 10 percent of the nonprofit’s operating budget. This year the goal is to raise $20,000.

Sponsors help make the fundraiser a success. One special repeat partner for the event is Hidden Meadow Vineyard in Jemison, which provides wine for the event. Sponsorship opportunities are available until Jan. 20.

Tickets are $15 per person or $25 for two. Attendees are encouraged to secure their tickets prior to the event, but tickets will also be available for purchase at the door.

The silent auction tables close at different times. There are typically three different tables of items.

Funds raised at Flutter go directly to serving children in Chilton County. From October 2016 to September 2017, Butterfly Bridge served 133 new children, not including those whose cases had been ongoing.

Butterfly Bridge could be working with the same child for years as the case goes through the stages of the criminal justice and court system.

“We had a case … where a guy was sentenced for sexually abusing two children, and their case had been ongoing for about 4 years, so not only were we there for them and provided those forensic interviews from the very beginning, but they also had the therapy. Our family advocate worked with them throughout that entire process,” Zuelzke said.

The family advocate also helps a child and family prepare for court when the child’s testimony may be needed and can accompany them to the courtroom.

For more information or to order tickets, call 205-755-4205 or visit