Learning to Fly.
With his beginnings shrouded in mystery, Chip St. Clair believed
he was the only son of David St. Clair, a troubled Vietnam war veteran with a propensity toward violence, and Leslie Weaver, an alcoholic wife and mother who was imminently preoccupied with soothing her husband's explosive rage. As a young boy, Chip found solitude in poetry and literature - Dickens, Dumas, Twain, Harper Lee, and Tolkien offered brief respite from
the hell he calls a childhood.
As a teenager, darkness began to consume him, forcing him into a grim solitude; a weary, bleak existence reflected in macabre etchings, poetry, and oil paintings. It wouldn't be until he crossed paths with sixteen-year-old Lisa that his life would take a dramatic twist. Her unwavering love pulled Chip from the brink of darkness and provided the foundation of strength he would rely upon when they uncovered the brutal truth about his father - David St. Clair was not a traumatized war veteran at all, but Michael Grant, a fugitive child murderer, one of America's most wanted, on the run for nearly three decades.
After turning his father in to the police, Chip and Lisa embarked on a very emotional and introspective journey that took them beyond the boundaries of impossibilities, to the very precipice of hope, love, and self-discovery. Their story is chronicled in his bestselling memoir The Butterfly Garden (HCI, 2008). Since its release, universities, high schools, and juvenile detention facilities across the country have incorporated the book into their curriculum, while Chip and Lisa's riveting lectures have become an integral part of training for law enforcement, prosecutors, and DHS is several states.
After appearances on programs such as Good Morning America and Dateline, the power couple were suddenly thrust into the spotlight as a result of their tireless child advocacy. They participated in countless interviews and have been featured in major print, radio, and television media outlets around the world, sometimes doing as many as 100 interviews per month. With a hunger to use their experiences to reach others, Chip and Lisa joined Justice for Children and helped to pass laws such as Jessica's Law in Michigan, Maryland, and Montana, and the Identity Theft Protection Act in Michigan. In 2005, Chip was honored as the recipient of a U.S. Congressional Record for Exemplary Leadership and Ardent Child Advocacy.
With Chip having found sanctuary in the arts as a child, coupled with the mindfulness and mentorship of Lisa, the two made it their mission to eradicate the notion that children of troubled backgrounds are defined by their surroundings and destined to continue a cycle of suffering. That’s when they launched the St. Clair Butterfly Foundation in 2008.