Safe Harbor’s Butterfly

by Julie Meredith, Safe Harbor

“How does one become a butterfly?” she asked. “You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”

– Trina Paulus


Four years ago, Safe Harbor was blessed with the opportunity to create a new “brand” that clearly defines and depicts our mission.  With the expertise and dedication of Jami Mullikin and Cara Sanders Robb of Hill Mullikin Marketing and Jay Kirkman of Radii, Safe Harbor’s logo became the symbol of a butterfly, along with a new tagline: “Safe Harbor – A Safe Place to Start a New Life”. 

As we were considering symbols for our new logo, we wondered if the butterfly might seem too “happy” or too “light”. We worried that it wouldn’t clearly reflect the depth and weight of the important work that we do -providing safety and intervention for victims of domestic violence and their children.  The issue of domestic violence is heavy and frightening. So, how could a butterfly represent this complex, horrific problem that our clients and their children have experienced? 

But, as we thought about it and discussed it further, we realized that our logo should not necessarily be a symbol of the issue that we address at Safe Harbor.  Instead, our logo should represent what a victim and her children have the chance to discover during their time with us at Safe Harbor. Hope. Opportunity. Transformation. New Life.

One of my favorite books is Hope for the Flowers by Trina Paulus.  It is a children’s book that tells the story of a caterpillar named Stripe who feels that there must be more to life than just eating leaves.  In his journey, Stripe meets Yellow, another caterpillar who is searching for life’s meaning. They end up parting ways for a while in their journey. During this time, Stripe continues to search for life’s meaning, while Yellow follows her instincts and spins a cocoon. She eventually emerges from the cocoon transformed into a butterfly and flies into the sky. She has found the real answer to the feeling that there must be more to life than eating leaves and who caterpillars really are. She shows Stripe her empty cocoon, and he eventually realizes what he needs to do. Stripe spins a cocoon and starts the slow and transformative process from being a caterpillar to becoming a butterfly.

Safe Harbor is a safe place to start a new life. It is a place where our clients can learn who they are and what their true potential is. It is a place where victims and their children can learn that there is more to life than just trying to survive. It is a place where a victim can start the slow and transformative process from being a victim to becoming a survivor.  It is a place where healing can begin. It is a place of Hope. Opportunity. Transformation. New Life.

The butterfly represents who we are and who our clients are at Safe Harbor. Every day, I am thankful for this powerful symbol of new life.