Three "butterflies" at the Butterfly Ball in April 2017. File photo: Courtney Blasl

The Butterfly Effect Project helps young local girls spread their wings and soar by giving them skills, self-confidence and poise as they transform into self-assured young women.

The group, begun in 2014 by Riverhead native Tijuana Fulford, was recently recognized by Rep. Lee Zeldin in Washington for providing an “invaluable service to our community.” (See prior story here.) He spoke about how the program has grown from four girls to 108 at present and that there is a growing list of young girls hoping to take advantage of the benefits of being a “Bepgirl.”

The Butterfly Effect Project is a non-profit organization that gets funding through grants, donations and fundraisers. The Best Friends Ball is an important fundraiser for the organization. All proceeds raised by the ball go directly toward the girls and their communities.

According to the BEP page on Facebook, every “purchase of a ticket allows the Butterflies to have their Ball in April for free!!! You are also helping us send them to away to sleep away camp this year for free!!! If you can not attend, please think about donating a ticket to assist us on sending someone who is unable to purchase a ticket. This is a tax-deductible ticket as well as good time and great give back.”

The girls have worked on community service projects over the years that have included making and giving away Easter baskets to families in shelters and donating lunches they have made for the needy. They have gone on field trips, had parties and other activities which teach social skills while having fun and have learned about giving back to the community through their community service actions.

The organization also works within the community to help the girls’ families with things like repairing credit ratings and teaching them fiscal skills. For its hard work, the Project has been recognized with a Suffolk County Human Rights award and $10,000 recycling grant from the Town of Riverhead.

Tickets are $100 each and are available online at

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