The Metamorphosis
     Mark Twain once said “There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.
     ”When the charter members were considering the vision of The Rotary E-Club of the Caribbean, 7020, they wanted to create project which served to involve its members who were resided in a variety of territories, countries and even continents, and this was a significant challenge. The Butterfly StoryBook was born having been adapted from the “Young Writer” annual Rotary project which takes place in the UK. It
was then gradually designed to fit the parameters unique to e-clubs. The project’s goals are lofty;
  • to promote literacy;
  • to provide young students with a catalyst to achieve success;
  • to form partnerships with other clubs throughout the district;
  • to provide books to primary schools across developing countries and
  • to promote international and cultural understanding.
     The club strives to meet these goals, it sometimes falls short of some but all have been achieved at various times over the years. It was a particularly significant achievement that the first volume of The Butterfly StoryBook was published on March 1, 2013 – more than 6 months before the club was chartered in August 2013! Following the success of the launch of the first volume of The Butterfly StoryBook in 2013 the club has published an additional volume every year since that time.
     The club is very much aware that each September, when the project is launched on World Literacy Day the participation of our collaborating clubs is so essential to the project’s success. Although the club spearheads the project and produces and publishes the book, there would be no stories if it were not for the partner clubs who faithfully support us year by year.
Invitations to collaborate in the project are sent to all 7020 Rotary clubs. Collaborating clubs hold a local story- writing contest using the criteria set by the E-Club. The topic of the stories is centred around the ethos of Rotary such as acts of kindness, friendship, leadership and/or respect and has a Caribbean flavour. The collaborating clubs hold their own local story-writing contest, select their three choices for winners and submit to the E-Club during November.
     The project has become popular with many clubs across the district and has created local media coverage as well as a popular literacy project in each territory. Approximately 10-20 clubs across the district support the project and each student and school receives a certificate of recognition. The total of students who enter the various local contests is often between 100 and 200 and the total of schools is around 20-25.
Upon receipt of all the stories, all E-club members are encouraged to participate in the judging process to select their 10 choices of stories which then makeup the content of The Butterfly StoryBook. It is particularly thrilling for these young writers to be published in books available worldwide.  In addition to a certificate, winners receive $50; a copy of the book autographed by the District Governor and a Butterfly lapel pin inscribed “Butterfly Authors Create - Translate - Relate”
     In 2014, the project was recognized by Rotary International and highlighted on the RI website. As a result, the e-club was one of only two Rotary clubs worldwide to receive a literacy grant from The Pearson Foundation. Following this success and exposure, the club received a request for our books to be used across Jamaica during Jamaica Reading Week and this resulted in publicity in The Jamaica Gleaner.
The organization of book sales during the District Conference each year is critical to achieving the aims of the project. The project is not intended to be exclusively a fundraiser, the income from these sales provides us with the ability to send books to schools across the developing world through our Rotary contacts. More importantly, in enables us to produce the book in Creole for circulation to schools throughout Haiti. Failure to sell books at this event can, therefore, have a significant effect on our ability to achieve the aim of encouraging cross-cultural understanding in young children.
     Over the years, we have applied for several Rotary grants enabling us to raise additional funds for the book production in other languages and for donating books internationally.
     The books serve many purposes. For students, it provides the opportunity to hone their story-writing skills.
Educators can use the stories as a tool for illustrating sentence and paragraph construction and some have also used the stories in school assemblies for tales of inspiration. For Rotary clubs, it is a project which can be duplicated anywhere in the world and for 7020 clubs, it is a ready-made “off-the-shelf” local literacy project. For young people across the world, it is an opportunity to learn about the Caribbean and to be inspired to write their own stories.
     What do we see in the future? It is the aim of the club to produce books in additional languages, in particular the languages of our club members. Further aims are to create books in braille, talking books and e-books via Kindle thus making the stories available to a wider audience.
     We believe we have a unique project and it is certainly one which for which we have received many compliments. As a club, we can be justly proud of its success and as members, it is our responsibility to get involved and take part in some way to ensure its continued success into the future.