“In a manner of speaking, I’ve always been a helper.”
Giving to the Fountain Hills Community Foundation comes in many forms. Just ask Dr. Amy Rabideau, a retired psychologist whose 3-D resin butterflies have fetched top dollar at the 2020 and 2021 Flutter at the Fountain fundraising events.
“The butterflies I create take many, many hours,” she said. “I’m always just thrilled to work on them, and especially thrilled when they can provide something for someone in need.”
Dr. Rabideau decorated a 24” butterfly she named Winged Kaleidoscope Kalei for the 2020 auction, and a 36” butterfly (Winged Delight) and a 24” butterfly (Fairy Dust) for the 2021 auction. Each butterfly began as a blank steel cutout to which she added oak cut designs and decorated with colored resin, beads, and stones. In the past two years, her contributions have helped net more than $3,000 for the Fountain Hills Community Foundation.
“In a manner of speaking, I’ve always been a helper,” she said “As the middle child, I’ve always had an awareness of people around me who were in need. I think that’s what led me to the helping field.”
As a psychologist, Dr. Rabideau worked with children with autism and their families, a population she said “really resonated” with her heart and soul. Later, as a director for Maricopa community colleges, she was instrumental in implementing software which unified disability services among the colleges in the county.
Dr. Rabideau doesn’t consider herself an artist – that’s a title she reserves for her two sisters. Instead, she enjoys all aspects of refurbishing dollhouses, a hobby she put on the backburner until her two sons were raised. Now she enjoys finding abandoned dollhouses “with good bones” and bringing them back to life. Projects have included building a replica of the home from Little House on the Prairie and a transforming a Spanish style hacienda into a white, 2-story Greek stucco complete with blue awnings and a colorful yellow courtyard for a girlfriend.
“My talent is being able to decorate, design, refurbish, and build furniture with the miniatures,” she explained. “In doing that, I work with resin, cloth, and fabric. I have a laser engraving machine where I cut out my own patterns for furniture. All of that translated well into butterfly design.”
In keeping with her generous spirit, Dr. Rabideau gifts at least one dollhouse each year to a deserving child. Sometimes she puts one under the Angel Tree at Christmastime; on occasion she’ll “get a vibe” from someone inquiring about a listing she has on Facebook Marketplace and gift it to them when they stop by to look. She invites anyone who is interested or knows of a little girl in need to contact her for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.