Heroes Among Us


Kids hope these butterflies spread joy to those in Covid cocoons

Posted at 1:49 PM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 18:26:31-05

SHORT PUMP, Va. -- It is the one house on Sovereign Lane in Short Pump that sets little hearts aflutter. Every weekday at three boys and girls arrive like clockwork.

At Sally Sylvester’s home, a group of friends has an open invitation for an afterschool activity that’s taking flight for children like Charlotte Nerheim.

“Every time I finish homework and come over and hop into the garage. So much fun. Get so excited,” Charlotte said.

It’s called Butterflies 4 Smiles.

Using coffee filters, clothespins, and lots of colors, they make butterflies.

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Sally Sylvester organized the group last summer.

“It's great. They’re using their minds. They’re using their hands. They’re learning so much,” Sylvester said.

Make no mistake, this is no arts and crafts class.

These boys and girls are on a serious mission to help people stuck in their Covid cocoon.

“We donate them to food banks, assisted living facilities, and hospitals,” Henry Pietrantoni said.

The idea was hatched last summer.

Members started making dozens and then hundreds.

Today Butterflies 4 Smiles has tallied more than 8,000.

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“My home has become butterfly central,” Sylvester said. “Incredible. The passion. The dedication is just amazing. I don’t see them stopping this project.”

Butterflies 4 Smiles is allowing members to spread their wings and change the world one small act of kindness at a time.

“It would make me very happy because if I was in their position it would make me very happy to get a butterfly," Henry said.

If you would like to donate coffee filters, markers, or clothespins to the cause click here.

Greg McQuade features local heroes in a weekly “Heroes Among Us” segment. Watch Greg’s reports Thursdays on CBS News at 6 or here on WTVR.com. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured on “Heroes Among Us,” click here to email heroes@wtvr.com.

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