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Parent turns life around, joins wife in helping needy children

Oris Boutte is living proof that you can turn your life around and Varnett students have been the beneficiaries of his transformation.

Boutte, 48, had been a crack addict for 17 years and was in and out of institutions for most of that time. Now, with the help of his wife, Darlene Duckett Boutte, Boutte has been clean and sober for two years. But it doesn’t stop there. Mrs. Boutte, founder of God’s Lovely Butterflies, and Boutte have engaged in various projects to help people in need and in August donated nearly 300 backpacks to students, mostly from Varnett.

“We provided snow cones, popcorn, barbeque, nachos and cotton candy,” Boutte said of the event that took place a week before school started. How did Varnett get so lucky? The couple have a son, Joseph Kearney, who is a third-grader at the Southwest Campus.

A passion for children
“I love Varnett,” said Mrs. Boutte, who noted that her son has been at the school since kindergarten. But the couple’s generosity extends beyond the Varnett family. Mrs. Boutte started God’s Lovely Butterflies on her own in 2010 and gave away 50 backpacks and food to needy children at Yellowstone Park in Houston. It also is a place for homeless people. “I’ve always had the need for helping others,” Mrs. Boutte said, “I have a passion for kids and I wanted to give back to the community. No one wants to target the poor neighborhoods."

The couple credits close friends Latasha Freeman and fiancé Charles Montes in helping with the donations and becoming committed partners with God’s Lovely Butterflies. Dollar General and WestLoop Law have also chipped in. Since the August event, the Bouttes also help people on Thanksgiving and Christmas. On Christmas, they found the time to get married and will have a special ceremony on Feb. 11.

Mrs. Boutte, a patient care coordinator at a doctor’s office, has known Boutte since 2006. She was fully aware of his addiction but she embraced him anyway. “I knew the person when he was not on drugs. I saw the positive input he has on people’s lives. That’s what drove me to support him.” She said her husband also was motivated by something he can never get back. Because of his addiction, he was not able to see his daughter, now 22, grow up. They have a 3-year-old daughter together and he didn’t want to make the same mistake with her.

Boutte gives all credit to his wife for helping to turn his life around. “She was like ‘This is not you – you’re coming with me,’” he said. “She was supportive and the first person who took action, listened and responded positively. She showed me what she was doing with the organization and I was all for it.” For Boutte, life is complete. “I’m excited about waking up every day,” he said. “Before, I didn’t love myself. I love myself now. I not only love my family but love my community as well.”

Mrs. Boutte has two other children who love to support God’s Lovely Butterflies. “They love stuffing backpacks and boxes,” she said. “They often say, ‘Mom, I’m so proud of you. You are a good person.'"
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