Thursday, August 06, 2009

Clay Aiken Publicizes NIP Charity

NAME CHANGE -- Co-founders Clay Aiken and Diane Bubel celebrate National Inclusion Project, formerly known as The Bubel/Aiken Foundation. (NIP Photo)

National Inclusion Project

TBAF Adopts New Heading

The Bubel/Aiken Foundation, established six years ago in the midst of the American Idol Tour by Clay Aiken and his friend Diane Bubel, this week officially adopted a new name -- the National Inclusion Project.

The announcement was made in a press release -- An open letter from co-founders Clay Aiken and Diane Bubel -- and on the singer's Clayonline fan club site:

The Bubel/Aiken Foundation grew out of the relationship between the two of us and Diane’s son, Mike, a 13 year old with autism. The bond between us grew strong as we shared a vision of a world where children like Mike could be fully immersed in society. We had both witnessed children with disabilities repeatedly turned away from activities opened to typical children.

We met while Clay was pursuing a degree in special education at UNC-Charlotte. As part of that pursuit, Clay completed an independent study project where he created a foundation that focused on providing the support system for recreational and educational programs around the country to open doors to children with disabilities that had thus far remained closed.

We realized that an organized effort could encourage and facilitate community inclusion and empowerment of individuals with disabilities. This shared goal grew into reality on July 28, 2003 when we officially announced the creation of The Bubel/Aiken Foundation.

In the past six years, TBAF has established itself as a leading voice for inclusion working with a “Who’s Who” list of youth organizations.

The Foundation has formed partnerships with Johns Hopkins University’s National Center for Summer Learning, the University of Massachusetts-Boston’s Center for Social Development and Education, the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability, the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration, and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center.

The complete release is posted under News Stories at the new Inclusion Project website.

NIP Names Champions Honorees

This week the National Inclusion Project also announced the 2009 Champions honorees who will be presented awards at the Oct. 17 Champions Gala Benefit Celebration in Raleigh.

The 2009 honorees include Dr. Gregory P. Byrne, Patrick Henry Hughes, and Patrick John Hughes; Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA, Inc., corporate champion; and The Sparkle Effect. Below are sketches of the honorees:

Dr. Gregory P. Byrne, Patrick Henry Hughes, and Patrick John Hughes: When Patrick Henry Hughes was born in 1988, medical staff noticed physical anomalies diagnosed as bilateral anophthalmia with ptergyium syndrome and congenital bilateral hip dysplasia. He can neither see nor walk.

His father, Patrick John Hughes, introduced him to the piano at the age of nine months. Patrick has studied piano in the years since and later began the study of trumpet.

At the suggestion of Louisville's marching band director, Dr. Greg Byrne, Patrick Henry joined the marching band, playing trumpet while his father pushed him in his wheelchair through the marching routines.

The inspirational story of these three men, featured during a 12/2/06 ESPN Game Day telecast, can be viewed at YouTube or in the player below. His story has also been highlighted by CBS on the Against All Odds series.

Inspirational Story of Patrick Henry Hughes

Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA, Inc. continually demonstrates its outstanding commitment to help young people with disabilities to maximize their potential and participation in society.

The Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation has had a sizable impact since it was established in 1991: more than $9 million invested, affecting the lives of many thousands of young people with disabilities, their families, friends and communities.

Added to that total are thousands of employee volunteer hours and the transformation of individuals, one life at a time.

The Sparkle Effect: Sarah Cronk and Sarah Herr, two varsity cheerleaders from Pleasant Valley High School are being honored as Champions for founding The Sparkle Effect, a nonprofit organization that encourages high school students across the United States to include children with special needs on cheer leading squads.

By providing guidance, peer mentoring, and online tools to enable high school students to fully integrate cheerleading squads, they have changed life experiences for teenagers across the country and the awareness they have created will continue to impact generations to come.

Complete bios of the Champions can be read at the Inclusion Project website.

Clay To Perform at Gala Benefit

The Champions Gala will feature a special performance by Clay, as well as dinner, and silent and live auctions, in support of the organization's programs providing children with disabilities the opportunity to play, learn and grow side-by-side with their typical peers.

New this year will be the presentation of the first annual
Bubel Aiken Founders' Award for outstanding volunteer service. Individual tickets go on sale at noon EDT Aug. 11. For more information, see tickets and reservations.

Congratulations and all the best to the newly named National Inclusion Project as the organization continues its mission of inclusion for all!

We are so proud to launch the National Inclusion Project. As our foundation grows, so does its impact. In order to better reach the ever growing goals we have for this foundation, we felt that a new name would better suit our position as a national leader on inclusion as well as recognize the Foundation's start and the efforts of its faithful supporters. - Clay Aiken

Below is a double clickable of the opening photo:

Have a great weekend, Clay Nation!


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Other blogs currently spotlighting the National Inclusion Project include:

Clay Aiken News Network

Clay Aiken Journey

All That Is Clay Aiken

Chexxxy’s Pearls


Clay Aiken News

There Was a Man


Shyeyewitness and Friends



chel4clay said...

This was a great article Caro. Clay continued success in growing inclusion awareness across the country and the world. Maybe one day the name can be international instead of national.

copingincalifornia said...

Thank you for this Caro. Patrick Hughes' story was wonderful to hear. And congrats to Clay Aiken on this foundation's success.

SueReu said...

Thanks Caro!!! I think I need to be bringing some Kleenex to the gala this year, I KNOW I'll cry!!!

Love the story of Patrick Hughes, love the cheerleaders who started their inclusion project. These people make such a difference and bravo to Clay Aiken for shining the spotlight on them!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Caro.
This is an exciting time for Clay and the BAF. How proud he makes me for all that he does for children and inclusion.

We better bring a ton of Kleenex to the Gala this October. I am quite excited that my concert buddy of years will be coming with me this time. Last year was my first and I would give up a concert to go to the Gala from now on.

claysweetea said...

After reading about the honorees for this Gala, I cannot wait to see them receive their awards.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Caro, wonderful blog and Congratulations to Clay Aiken!!

fgs said...

Wishing Clay Aiken continued success with the foundation as it moves forward. Patrick's story is very inspirational. It puts so many things people take for granted in perspective. Thanks for sharing the video and this wonderful blog.

Ashes said...


Clay Aiken is so adorable, & excited for the new National Inclusion Project launch, how super the program is going so well. There's no doubt it will keep on growing.

Great blog--Patrick Henry's story is a great read.

LovesClaysVoice said...

Thanks Caro for a great blog! I am so happy and excited for Clay and Diane! I wish them continued success with the National Inclusion Project.

CCOL4HIM said...

Great post! I'd heard of Patrick's story before, but my you certainly packed a lot of info in your post, but you usually do ! Thhanks! Take care & God bless. Love always, Cynthia

T said...

Thanks so much Caro for your blog & bringing awareness to Clay's passion about inclusion. I'm so happy with his announcement of the new name. That was his mission. The foundation has been so successful and continues to do so.

More power to Clay especially in making a difference and also to you, who always brings very informative and great blogs.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the video, what a guy.(Patrick) ~ A inspiration to All. Your blogs are wonderful,Thanks ! A Clay music fan,Donna in Wi.

musicfan said...

Caro.......another wonderful blog. I loved reading about the people who are being honored in October.

I am so proud to be a Clay Aiken fan. He has made such a difference in the lives of so many children.

Thank you for sharing this information with us!!

MissSally said...

Caro, thank you so much for spotlighting this awesome event.
I truly believe that we are defined by the things we do, and not by what we say.
Clay has proven himself to be a man of honor; definitely an old soul.

chel4clay said...

MissSally, very well said comment. I agree with every word. I remember seeing Patrick on Home Improvement. What a great kid.

CCOL4HIM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CCOL4HIM said...

Thanks for the link and the comments.

PaulaBear said...

What a great article about Clay Aiken and his foundation! I love the new name as it really speaks to what TBAF was all about, and that is inclusion for all children!

Anonymous said...

Excellent!!! Thanks, Caro!!

I love Clay Aiken <3

Allegra said...

Congratulations to Clay and all those who work to make The Project a success.

Awesome blog.

claysweetea said...

Thanks, Caro, for this great blog about the new name of the National Inclusion Project that Clay and Diane decided on. This man walks his talk better than anyone Ive ever seen walk!

Beanblossom said...

I love the new name of Clay Aiken's charity. I also love the excitement and happiness in Clay's voice, when he talks about it.

Happy times.

Cindy said...

Congratulations to Clay, Diane and all the amazing people at the Foundation. May National Inclusion Project continue to grow and prosper.

Thanks for the blog, Caro!