During the holiday season, you might share a meal with close friends or family, attend a worship service, or go shopping on Black Friday. For many at Butterfield, this time of year is about giving.
Butterfield is a community with a heart. One look around at the holidays and you’ll see the spirit of giving is alive in a variety of ways. Residents supporting service organizations, volunteering on campus, lending a hand at the Health Care Center, or simply helping their neighbors and friends.
As an organization, Butterfield was founded on the premise of giving. And that mission is carried out on a daily basis as BTV supports causes that are important to residents and provides assistance to employees and their families.
Whether it’s by volunteering for the campus-wide recycling program, donating to a non-profit, or taking up a collection for someone in need, the spirit of giving reaches far and wide at the Village, benefiting residents, the community and even the planet.
FOR THE CHILDREN
The EOA Children’s House in Springdale is the grateful recipient of a giving campaign directed by one very determined Butterfield resident.
Ginger Crippen has overseen a collection taken up by residents on BTV’s 3rd Floor South to benefit the Children’s House for three years now. At the holidays, Crippen and a carload of her 3rd floor neighbors deliver the donations in person, then take a group tour of the safe haven for abused and neglected children.
Each fall, Crippen and the others also gather clothes, school supplies, toys — whatever is needed by the children, and deliver the items to the Children’s House.
“Around October, I request a list of specific needs from the Children’s House, and I share that with the other residents on our floor,” Crippen, floor chair, said. “Residents add the items to their groceries list each week, and pretty soon it all adds up.”
Last year, residents gave $467 in donations to the Children’s House, along with a wagon full of clothing and supplies. Residents are supporting the organization because the care it provides infants and school-aged victims is critical to our community, Crippen said.
“They have a room where they teach students, and they work with families and caregivers to try to break the cycle of abuse,” she said. “But it’s a small capacity, and there are 100 other children who are waiting on a list.”
Crippen especially looks forward to the tour each year. Sharing the word about valuable work being done there is just as important as making the monetary donations.
“It’s good for us to go see first-hand what a great service they’re providing,” Crippen said. “And the people there need to know we care enough to come and take a look.”
Another BTV resident has dovetailed her passion for teaching into volunteering in both a local classroom and for the BTV Pen Pal Program.
Linda Hayes, a retired special education teacher, volunteers once a week at Butterfield Elementary School, giving lessons she’s prepared for students and supporting teaching staff.
“I try to do as many different things as I can to supplement (students’) education because that’s what makes school fun – the extra things,” Hayes said. “I’m lucky because I get to spend time doing what I love – working with kids. That’s pay enough for me.”
Hayes is also an integral part in the BTV Pen Pal Program – one of Butterfield’s successful community partnerships. Residents volunteer to exchange letters with their student pen pals during the school year. In the spring, everyone gets the chance to meet in person when the Village hosts the annual BTV Pen Pal Luncheon.
Hayes’ connection is two-fold: the student pen pals are from her second-grade elementary class, and she works to ensure that letters are returned in a timely fashion during the school year.
“I think people would be surprised if they knew how many BTV residents we have volunteering in so many different ways,” Hayes said. “Residents run the campus recycling, and that’s a big job and an important one. We have all sorts of people volunteering at the Health Care Center, reading books in the library, tending to gardens. Volunteers give so much to the quality of life we enjoy here at the Village.”
ACTS OF KINDNESS
Resident Dorothy Seaton is a prime example of how the spirit of giving lives inside each one of us. Seaton has been a volunteer at the BTV Health Care Center (HCC) since she moved to the Village 15 years ago.
Residents at the HCC can face challenges doing some of the “normal” day-to-day things they used to. That’s where the volunteers come in.
HCC volunteers deliver the mail to patients, play bingo and bridge with them, read to them, accompany them as support to doctors’ visits – and simply spend time to show they care.
“All kinds of wonderful things go on at the Health Care Center that volunteers do,” said Seaton, who reads the newspaper to residents who are losing their sight.
“I like to find articles that they can relate to – something they’ve done before, or they they’re interested in,” Seaton said. “After I read it out loud, I pass them the microphone and they’ll discuss their experiences. They want to share their take on these things. It ends up being fun for everyone.”
For Seaton, it is natural to devote time helping her friends and neighbors at the HCC.
“We know many of the people there because we’ve lived at Butterfield for 15 years,” Seaton said. “These people are our friends and neighbors. They are part of us.”
“We love them, and that’s why we do this,” she said.
At Butterfield, employees are treated like family, too.
Butterfield provides support through two designated funds: the Employee Scholarship Fund and Employee Care Fund.
For employees like Alyssa Morgan, a LPN in the HCC, a scholarship helped pay tuition costs related to her Registered Nursing associate’s degree.
“I had been making payments, but this helped me avoid carrying around the debt,” Morgan said. “I’m a working mom with a five-year-old son, and the people I work with have been great. They are like family and I appreciate Butterfield so much.”
PAYING IT FORWARD
Butterfield was founded on the premise of giving. In the early ‘80s during the planning stages of the Village, members of the five founding churches gave freely, conducting feasibility studies, serving on long-range planning committees, and donating hours upon hours of their personal time in order to make Butterfield a reality.
Once BTV opened its doors in 1986, the BTV Foundation was established to help fund programs, activities and amenities for residents and the Village. That mission remains robust today as generous contributions to the Foundation allow BTV to pay it forward benefiting residents of today and tomorrow.
As an organization, Butterfield supports causes that are important to residents. Residents and staff form a team each year that raises money for and participates in the Northwest Arkansas Alzheimer’s Walk.
Butterfield has been a top fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Walk for the past three years, donating more than $10,000 in 2019.
“This is a disease that effects a number of our residents, and we have our Special Care Center dedicated to memory care,” said BTV Senior Director of Resident Services Patricia Poertner. “So yes, our residents are very invested in this cause.”
Resident Lyle Gohn, who chairs the BTV Recycling Committee, said on any given week more than 60 residents are volunteering their personal time to the campus-wide program. Not only do they recycle their own items, but they assist others; collect, sort, compact and package recyclables; and load and haul the recyclables to the local recycling plant.
“In many ways it’s unbelievable how many residents are involved in various volunteer efforts across campus,” Gohn said. “Recycling happens to involve probably the largest number of residents, but many more are doing so many other things that often are overlooked or simply not realized.”
Data from the program over the last 34 years shows that volunteers are responsible for diverting 3.7 million pounds of trash from area landfills and saving BTV more than $1 million in dumpster, landfill and other costs.
“There is a deep-seated commitment by people our age who want to do the right thing in terms of recycling and having an impact on our environment and world,” Gohn said. “I think too often elderly people are thought of as perhaps not caring, that the idea is beyond them, and why worry about the future now.”
“But I guarantee we do care,” Gohn said. “We care about what kind of world we’re leaving our children and grandchildren to.”