Finding a place to fit in can be a difficult experience for many, so seniors Amaya Garrett and Micha’la Hood co-founded the organization, The Butterfly Effect, to create a space designed to empower women.
After meeting through a mutual friend in their freshman year at the University of Kentucky, Garrett and Hood, respectively president and vice-president of The Butterfly Effect, formed a friendship that led to the creation of a organization that would not only have an impact on other young women but on themselves. also.
The Butterfly Effect is a women’s empowerment and professional development organization that strives to create a safe space for all women of all identities on the UK campus, Garrett said.
As freshmen on campus, the co-founders did not feel involved in campus culture, even after attending numerous meetings for other organizations. This prompted them to create their own club that works for the inclusion of all women.
“Part of The Butterfly Effect is open to everyone, which we take very seriously,” Hood said. “We just felt it was very important to build a safe space for all women, not just a specific race or a specific major.”
The organization organizes discussions on personal and professional development topics every Tuesday evening. “We want our members to speak and feel comfortable enough to express their opinions,” said Garrett.
These meetings include activities that accompany the topics to engage members in the discussion. In addition to meetings on Tuesday, they also organize liaison events on Saturdays. In addition to this, the organization offers a mentoring program tailored to middle and high school students.
Hood, originally from Chicago and major in broadcast journalism, said the mentors were aimed at building community and role models for the young women who are the future of the UK.
The pair have come up with a name that truly reflects who they stand for while also bouncing off ideas about what to call their organization in a drive-thru.
Garrett, a public health major from Louisville, said she and Hood had always known they wanted the name to have something to do with a butterfly. They wanted it to reflect the way students grow and spread their wings while entering the real world.
After launching The Butterfly Effect in the fall of 2020, the organization faced hurdles due to COVID-19, especially when it comes to partnering with schools. “A lot of schools weren’t even considering the idea of mentors coming to schools,” Garrett said.
Despite these tribulations, the organization has secured its foundation and continues to expand in Lexington. The Butterfly Effect is currently working with Bryan Station Middle School, Frederick Douglass High School, and Henry Clay High School.
“I feel like we have a lot of opportunities at Lexington to continue to be role models, not only in the UK but with the younger generation,” said Hood.
While they were in the process of building their organization, Garrett and Hood said they were also affected.
“They [the students] allowed me to see a different perspective on life, ”said Garrett. “They really impacted me by allowing me to see more in life than I have ever seen.”
Through their mentorship and leadership, the founders realize the importance of having a support system in the community.
“Outside of us as an organization, we are a fellowship,” Hood said. “I feel like the support I have received from the community is something that has really allowed me to stay focused and feel supported here in the UK.”