JABS donates office in Riverhead to The Butterfly Effect Project

The Butterfly Effect Project is now able to spread its wings even further in its mission to empower girls thanks to a donation from JABS fitness studio.

JABS owner Jill Schroeder donated office space at the back of her business’s new Riverhead location to The Butterfly Effect Project after she was tagged in a Facebook post asking for help in finding a location for the growing nonprofit.

“To have a mentor or someone to look up to or someone to give that added strength in their lives, I think is just so important,” she said of The Butterfly Effect Project.

Ms. Schroeder, who also has a fitness center in Cutchogue and was named Business Person of the Year by The Suffolk Times in 2012, said she’s happy to help the group because its founder, Tijuana Fulford, created a program for preteens to build confidence.

Ms. Fulford, who was named the Riverhead News-Review’s 2016 Person of the Year, praised Ms. Schroeder for her kindness and hopes to collaborate with her to teach her “butterflies” about exercise and healthy eating.

The new office will allow The Butterfly Effect Project to apply for grants and provide a space to meet with the girls and their parents.

“It brings more viability and awareness to the organization,” Ms. Fulford said. The organization is also looking to expand into Southold Town, she added.

The office will also allow Ms. Fulford to have a “normal life,” she jokingly said since her cellphone has been the organization’s main phone number.

Given the current climate surrounding racism, Ms. Fulford added: “It’s nice to see the synergy between so many different backgrounds coming together.”

Siris Barrios, Riverside Rediscovered’s community liaison, said it’s exciting to see Ms. Fulford taking a volunteer-based group into a full-fledged operation. Riverside Rediscovered allowed The Butterfly Effect Project to use its meeting space and the two groups have worked on initiatives together.

This new step will help push the community and local officials to support The Butterfly Effect Project further, Ms. Barrios said.

“We’re able to do all of this now because of the space and we’re able to make a program into an actual organization,” Ms. Fulford said. “The space definitely changes the playing field for us.”

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Photo: From left, JABS owner Jill Schroeder, Norm Gopen, Tijuana Fulford, Ebony Street, Siris Barrios and Angela Huneault outside The Butterfly Effect Project’s new office Wednesday morning. (Credit: Kelly Zegers)