Welcome to Butterfly Dreams

Butterfly Dreams is a non-profit organization that provides events and pageants for individuals who are “Differently-abled” with significant I/DD to reach their goals and learn life skills like making friends, overcoming fear, embracing courage, and learning how to communicate their passions across to others.

Merriam-Webster defines a chrysalis as "a hard case that protects a moth or butterfly while it is turning in to an adult". We like to think of our organization as a type of chrysalis. We provide a safe loving atmosphere where individuals can grow, become more self-confident, develop self-esteem, and transform into beautiful butterflies.

Our children and adults participate in both an annual state pageant and numerous other yearly activities for residents in Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Our goal is to give every everyone a safe encouraging environment, where they can make friends, volunteer in their communities, spread the message of inclusion, and help break down the barriers of people fearing what they do not understand.

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Our Founder

Our Founder

Syndi Sills, affectionately known as “Momma Butterfly” was born and raised in West Palm Beach Florida. She spent her childhood and teenage years modeling and competing in local, state, and national pageants, including the preliminary for Miss America, where she placed first runner up. The only thing she loved more than competing in pageants was her family, especially her late brother Paul Jr. (P.J.) who had Down Syndrome. Two of her fondest memories were teaching P.J. to play....

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How It Began

How it Began?

Butterfly Dreams was created in memory of a special butterfly named Paul Jr. (P.J.) He was our Founder, Syndi Sills’, older brother. PJ was born with Down Syndrome in 1960 at which time the doctors expressed their sympathies that he would not live past the age of eighteen. PJ proved them wrong by a long shot. Not only did he see the age 49, but he would have lived even longer had he not been taken tragically in a car accident. Nonetheless having Down Syndrome did not stop P.J. from living a wonderful fun filled life.

When they were young, P.J. and Syndi competed in pageants together, winning many trophies and awards. They also took dance and modeling classes.

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News & Events

Type Event | posted 5th Apr 2016 |  IL
Type Event | posted 4th Apr 2016 |  IL

We are now Located in...

  • Jeanne Wilkinson
    Director - Jeanne Wilkinson
    Jeanne is a sophomore at Rhodes College working toward a career in special education. She began working with children with special needs in middle school, and had sought out opportunities ever since. ...
  • Cassi Henderson and Bekah Babb
    Director - Cassi Henderson and Bekah Babb
    Cassi (on right) is the Co-Director of the Missouri Butterfly Dreams Pageant. She was born and raised in IL. Cassi graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Special Education in May of 2015 from South...

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