Founded in 2007 by Chip and Lisa St. Clair and based upon his bestselling memoir The Butterfly Garden, 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.  Art and music programs, nutrition, gardening, yoga, stress management, and even book clubs provide creative outlets for children and teens whose backgrounds vary from abuse to the sudden death of a parent or loved one — from childhood illness to the struggles of the foster care system.

 

In a dramatic shift, more and more experts worldwide are turning to therapeutic creative arts programs as a means of healing trauma and opening doors to better coping skills.  Leading psychologists often note a marked improvement in patients receiving creative art therapy compared to those in more traditional therapy sessions.  In these trying financial times, the sad fact is that music and art programs are the first to be cut from a school budget.  This is where the St. Clair Butterfly Foundation comes in — to fill the gaps and shortfalls so all children have access to the creative arts.  From public high schools to domestic violence shelters, the St. Clair Butterfly Foundation has serviced nearly 3500 children this year alone.

 

In addition, the St. Clair Butterfly Foundation has touched the lives of nearly 1000 troubled youths, helping to find a creative outlet that takes them beyond the boundaries of their environment as an alternative to drugs, violence, and gangs.  The Foundation’s programs have become incorporated into the rehabilitation efforts of several juvenile detention facilities nationwide — from New York to Connecticut to right here in Michigan.

 

Based in Southfield, Michigan, this 501c3 non-profit also offers community outreach programs, a scholarship program, and legislative initiatives, having successfully helped to change laws in several states to better protect children.  Under the exemplary leadership of the Board of Directors, nearly all operating expenses are generously donated in-kind, which allows almost 100% of funds raised to go directly to programs to help children.

 

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INTERVIEW WITH MADISON PUBLIC SCHOOLS