Participants from a Because Butterflies R' Blue retreat. Courtesy photo
Participants from a Because Butterflies R' Blue retreat. Courtesy photo

Because, Butterflies R’ Blue seeks to inspire ‘at-risk’ girls

Shonta Bradley knows her life could’ve taken a drastically different path had it not been for a teacher who believed in her and helped her believe in herself.

“I had a White teacher who loved on me, and I loved her. She would come to my neighborhood, and it meant the world to me. I knew people who looked like me who wouldn’t come to my neighborhood,” said Bradley, who is Black.

Inspired by that teacher who invested in her in first, second and third grade, Bradley wants to do the same thing for other at-risk girls through an organization Bradley founded called Because, Butterflies R’ Blue.

She knows that early investment made a lifetime of difference for her.

“I have friends who didn’t get that and made different decisions,” she said.

Learning about cooking from a caterer was one of the activities at Because Butterflies R’ Blue event. Courtesy photo

Bradley, who works for the Richmond County Department of Family and Children Services, often sees girls in difficult family situations. And sometimes, even when the case is closed, she wonders if there’s more that could be done to help them.

“It’s been pulling at me for years to do something aside from my 9 to 5,” she said.

She hit the ground with the program in early 2022 holding a gala to raise money for a weekend retreat that summer. Last year, she did the same thing.

The weekend retreat brings girls together. The first night is an ice breaker session. They don’t spend the night but come back the following day. The next day includes a variety of topics. Previous retreats have run the gamut of creating vision boards to table etiquette to learning about running a catering business to being aware of the dangers of the internet and how to keep themselves safe from predators.

The goal is to instill in them a sense of self-worth and give them hope for their future.

She wants them to know that she too was once labeled “at risk,” but she didn’t have to let that label stick.

Shonta Bradley. Courtesy photo

“I remember being an at-risk girl, and now I’m the woman who has evolved. I want to show them you can be the butterfly. You may be in a cocoon, but at some point, you will be the butterfly,” she said.

 And that’s the reason the name was so important to her. She tried registering the non-profit name with the color blue and butterfly, using different variations of spellings, but they were already taken. A line from a movie prompted her to add “because” followed by a comma, and it all fell into place.

Bradley said Because, Butterflies R’ Blue is still young, but there are so many things she wants to do.

Surveys of the participants have shown her that they enjoy the retreats; they just wish there was more time.

About 40 girls have attended the programs, and she works to keep in touch with them during the year. She’d like to expand from a yearly retreat to maybe quarterly ones with the ultimate goal of having a safe place for them to go after school with a van to pick them up after school.

“I know there’s a need for it,” she said. “I want to keep it going.”

The next retreat is scheduled for July.

Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News and Inspiring: Women of Augusta, has covered Augusta’s news for more than 35 years. Reach her at Sign up for the newsletter here.

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2 responses to “Because, Butterflies R’ Blue seeks to inspire ‘at-risk’ girls”

  1. Regina Rice says:

    What a great spotlight on Butterflies R’ Blue! It gives me so much joy to see positivity amplified in a world that often highlights negativity. This organization has been a fantastic addition to the community and has made a real difference in my life. #ButterfliesRBlue #positivity

  2. Gabby Boardman Benton says:

    I would absolutely love to be involved at some level. I am in Aiken now, but my passion has always been to raise people of color to power. It is so important and vital to our country that OUR children will become and inherit OUR future.

    Thank you for being a force of love. And thank you for sharing your story. This is absolutely beautiful and so incredibly powerful.

    My mother taught at Richmond Academy, and you know what, she might’ve been that teacher. I don’t know, but I do know what she would do for those children. She passed 36 years ago, and I am happy to take her spot!

    Love WITH color!