Son of convicted child killer helping at-risk kids

Chip St. Clair's childhood was a nightmare. 

"I often wonder how did I survive, why did I survive."

Why? His father.

"He was maniacal. He had to have things a certain way all the time. I remember having to count how many ice cubes I would put in his glass of Diet Coke to not incite some sort of violence from him."

One of Chip's most vivid memories is of a camping trip to Lake Michigan when he was 8 years old. He was in a boat with his dad so far out on the water they couldn't see the shore.

"He actually picked me up and he threw me out in the water and rowed away leaving me there, and I remember thinking I was going to die. It was so cold and I was alone."

Chip swam to shore focusing on a poem he had just read. Throughout the years he would go back to those words and others to escape from the abuse. 

"Thankfully I found sanctuary in creative arts and literature and poetry, and books were my piece of mind," he says.

When Chip was 22 his father was finally arrested on domestic abuse charges. The next day, his dad's true identity was revealed. 

His real name was Michael Grant, and he'd been convicted of killing a 3-year-old boy in Indiana. 

"He was one of America's most wanted, a child killer who had been on the run for almost 30 years," Chip explains. 

Eight years after his father returned to prison, Chip penned a memoir about growing up in an abusive home called 'The Butterfly Garden.' The book has since been incorporated into the curriculum of high schools, universities and juvenile detention facilities across the country.

"When I realized that at-risk kids were drawing inspiration from that, with their own demons that they were facing, I said you know what, let's be part of the healing process. Let's start the St. Clair Butterfly Foundation."

The St. Clair Butterfly Foundation utilizes the power of creative arts, literature and overall well-being programs to impact the lives of children facing adversity.  

 "What we do is help get the creative arts and literature - the very same things that helped me cope and find hope and find my potential to soar - we get those programs into the lives of at-risk kids and kids who need it and the communities who need it." Chip says. 

"You're giving them the tools to be able to get out there and dig deep and find something that they never knew existed," says co-founder Lisa St. Clair. 

Since its inception, the St. Clair Butterfly Foundation has touched the lives of thousands, helping to find a creative outlet that takes people beyond the boundaries of their environment.

"We all face adversity of different kinds, but if we can learn to master that we realize that we have tools that we may not have had had those bad things not happened," says Chip. 

You can learn more at

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