Sunday, December 25, 2011

Clay Aiken Serenades Christmas Greetings

Graphic by Cotton

Wishing all a joyous Christmas!
Recommended Playlist: 'Merry Christmas With Love' by Clay Aiken

Merry Christmas to all who may dwell here
Merry Christmas if even just one
May the joy of the season surround you
Merry Christmas with love!

MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE: Clay Aiken sings MCWL during the 2005 Joyful Noise Concert in Denver. View video by Scarlett full screen at YouTube.

If "Merry Christmas With Love" is not filling your holiday airwaves, the solution is a click away with mp3 downloads at Amazon and other online outlets. Fan club members can link to Clay's musical holiday greeting here.

MCWL Playlist

Merry Christmas With Love
Mary, Did You Know
Hark the Herald Angels Sing/O Come All Ye Faithful
O, Holy Night
Don't Save It All for Christmas Day
Joy to the World
Sleigh Ride
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Silent Night
The Christmas Song
Winter Wonderland
What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?

The clickable graphics below are by Fountaindawg, 1, 3; Cotton, 2; Lindylo, 4, and AmazingCA, 5. Photographers include Curtis Brown, 1, 3; zippy888, 4, and toni7babe, 5.

A special thank you to all who visit the Carolina blog throughout the year. I always enjoy hearing from you and appreciate your props for the talented visual artists featured here.

With visuals and music from Jacquie Lawson, I wish you and yours peace, love, and all the wonder of the holiday season in this Shining Star card! Note there's a puzzle option when your day winds down. *g*

Christmas signature by Linda

Monday, December 19, 2011

Clay Aiken Fans Celebrate Season with New Single

Clay Aiken to release BBML single at midnight.
Double clickable graphic by Fountaindawg, photo by Curtis Brown.

Bring Back My Love

Fans Count Down to New Single

Only a few more hours to Clay Aiken's much-anticipated new single!

"Bring Back My Love," will be released for digital download at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday on Amazon, iTunes, and CD Universe. And fans cannot wait!

iTunes Hot New Singles Banner

As the zero hour ticked closer, many fans played the song non-stop on the the Mediabase Player on the Music Info Systems site. You may be prompted to download a plug-in for your browser. These links should help: Firefox and Mediabase Settings.

BBML cap links to Mediabase Player.

Bring Back My Love - Clay Aiken (lyrics)

When I was young

Love was a lonely lullaby
Then there was you
I saw my future in your eyes
And I threw you away
I was wrong
When all is said and done,
Then I'm gonna bring back my love to you
Gonna show you what love can do
Believe me, just give me time
Cause I'm gonna to bring back my love to you
And we'll lay down like lovers do
Oh, my darling, say you'll be mine

Spending my time building my castles in the sand
I was a fool letting you fall right through my hands
Tonight, please let me hold you in my arms
And lie here safe from harm

Cause I'm gonna bring back my love to you
Gonna show you what love can do
Oh, my darling, say you'll be mine

All that I ever wanted
All that I ever needed
Was your love
Cause your love carries me

Cause I'm gonna bring back my love to you
Gonna show you what love can do
Oh, believe me, just give me time
Cause I'm gonna bring back my love to you
And we'll lay down like lovers do
Oh, my darling, say you'll be mine
Oh, my darling, say you'll be mine

Always with the voice at the forefront, the song starts with piano alone, proceeds to vocals and piano. Strings, horns, and percussion are added at various points.

Double clickable Christmas graphic by Fountaindawg.

Champions Gala 'Stays in Raleigh'

While I was playing oboe in Jamestown United Methodist Church Lessons and Carols Christmas Cantata rehearsals/performances on Dec. 10-11, many Clay Aiken fans converged on Raleigh for the National Inclusion Project's annual Champions Gala.

Most of the events -- VIP reception; silent and Dutch auctions; luncheon; Clay's special performance of pop hits, holiday music, and the premiere of BBML -- were off limits to cameras this year.

Honorees included Walgreens (corporate), Kevin Connolly, 24, photographer and professional skier born without legs; and Chris Burke, whose Down Syndrome has not impaired his acting career. Read the bios/credentials of these champions of inclusion at the Foundation's website.

Clack of Sunday morning's NIP Volunteer Round Table discussion can be viewed at the Ginger Scarlett Channel on YouTube. Videos 1, 2, and 3 cover the mission and scope of the NIP's inclusive programs and fundraisers; Let's All PLAY camps; proactive, creative ways to organize benefits.

Special thanks to
Scarlett for providing video of these sessions.

Recaps of the weekend have been devoured throughout Clay Cyberspace, and those in attendance are still talking about the 2011 event. I especially like this Not.Just.Us quote shared by
I had the pleasure of seeing you at the foundation fundraiser hosted by Clay Aiken last weekend. I went kicking and screaming, but I gotta admit ... the dude can sing.

I have never seen fans like that in my life. They remind me of small crowd versions of the Beatles and Elvis. I was told that lunch with Clay Aiken went for $58,000. Clearly I should not have ducked chorus in high school.

P.S. Luncheon a Very Special Treat

For me, a very special highlight of Gala Weekend was the luncheon six of us shared in Greensboro Sunday afternoon.

Five participants traveled from Raleigh while I packed up my oboe to meet them at Mimi's Restaurant in the Friendly Shopping Center. The hour wait was no problem as some of us were meeting for the first time.

What a treat to finally meet
Aspiegirl and her roommate Maria, both of whom I have known online for years. I also met for the first time Triad neighbors georgiesmybaby and FearofH2O.

Being with
Scarlett is always special. After the Ohioans departed for their 11-hour return trip and the Triad folks headed home, Scarlett and I visited, picked up some sushi for her, and eventually rented a car for her return to Raleigh and very early flight the next morning.

It's been quite a week!

Double clickable cap of Christie Cookie site to enlarge.

Christie Cookie Site Features NIP

The National Inclusion Project has been the featured charity in Christie Cookies' 'Chippin' in for Kids' program for November and December 2011. Scroll on the left sidebar or the Charity of the Month.

Each time a cookie tin is purchased, Christie Cookies donates 22% of the price back to the charity. At the same time, the cookie site is spreading the word about inclusion:

Inclusion is giving people their rightful opportunity to participate. Since the National Inclusion Project began, they have made a real impace by ensuring that children nationwide can experience all of life."

Read more information at National Inclusion

Piano, Violin Students Perform

No doubt, last week was one of the busiest of the year as my violin and piano students also performed holiday music/semester literature at Wesleyan Christian Academy on Thursday afternoon. No wonder the Carolina blog has sat so long without an update!

Hats off to Erica Freeman, Kayla Davidson, and Haley Pierce, pianists; and violinists Jenni Harrell, Raegan Isenhour, Sara Beth Bulla, and Tatum Davis for their solos, duets, and ensembles during the first performance.

Double duty in a church Nativity scene rearranged the second program, so the string ensemble performed the opening four numbers with Tatum present and closed the program with one violinist dancing in King Herod's court elsewhere.

'King Herod' Claims Violinist

The violin ensemble at the second recital included Ora Fulp, Erica Justice, Sara Beth, and Tatum. A fifth member was home sick with the flu.

Pianists Miranda Rivera, Mitch Rivera, Jeremy Fulp, and Caleb Hernandez presented a varied program. In addition to the holiday selections, Caleb performed three new compositions whose current "working titles" are "Irish," "Winter," and "Old."

The importance of the holiday goody bags was never more pronounced as this year. Between performances, Tatum and her mom microwaved her bag's popcorn to sustain them through the Nativity gig.

Hopefully, all my students are still sharing their holiday music, as well as the goodies!

Christmastime is Here when Clay sings carols.
Double clickable graphic by Fountaindawg, photos by NickiKiwi.

Clay Synonymous with Christmas

No one sings Christmas music like Clay Aiken, and Claymatron provided just the post to describe what I mean. Here is her story:
I just returned from doing some Christmas shopping, and my first stop was the Hallmark card shop in our local mall. I was perusing some cards when I suddenly realized the Christmas carol I heard was being sung by Clay. I turned around and loudly declared, "OMG, that's Clay Aiken! Is that the radio?"

The ladies behind the counter looked at each other, smiled, and said, "Nope, it's our own CD; he's our favorite!" I told them I am a fan, and they told me they play it every day throughout the holidays. And they always get the nicest compliments from their customers when they do.

I'm not surprised. I stayed and bought three more cards than I intended and then browsed the entire shop until I heard "What Are You Doing New Years Eve?" It's the first time I've felt "Christmasy" this year!

NIP Lends NHHS Band a Hand

If you read my message board/Facebook posts, you know the Inclusion Project is helping the New Hanover High School Band, my Alma mater, and several other charities during the December Pepsi Refresh.

After receiving an urgent email from my brother Chuck one week into the campaign, our NIP crew started advising NHHS and other novice groups with what we have learned in past Pepsi drives.

Two weeks later, they are novices no more. Now we are taking notes from these energetic, creative gals -- Dana Ward (NHHHS Band, #9 in $25k), Crys Worley (AL Skate. #6 in $50k), Jennifer Rice (Ravenna Parks/Recreation, #14 in $50k), and on and on!

Many thnx to all who are utilizing the NIP Voting Widget links in this blog's sidebar. Even my music students are committed to daily texts as we support these groups for the next 10 days.

Wishing you and yours a very special holiday season!

Signature by Linda

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Clay Aiken's Pipes Shine, Portray Benefit Message

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS - Clay Aiken performed "My Grown Up Christmas List" during the True Colors benefit concert Sunday. View video by bigappleforclay full screen at YouTube.

Pipes, Calendar Peaks, Pepsi P.S.

'MGUCL' Defines Benefit Purpose

Clay Aiken's incredible pipes, a simple keyboard accompaniment, and the sublimely relevant "My Grown Up Christmas List" epitomized the purpose of Sunday's benefit concert for LGBT homeless youth in the New York City's Beacon Theatre.

For many, the North Carolinian's exquisitely nuanced vocals were the performance highlight of the Cyndi Lauper & Friends Home for the Holidays Concert last weekend.

Clay was accompanied by pianist-arranger Ben Cohn.

Double clickable graphic by Fountaindawg. Photos by Scarlett.

The evening also featured musical and comedy routines by the host, Norah Jones, Amy Lee, Cassandra Wilson, Rosie O'Donnell, Wanda Sykes, Jon Secada, Carson Kressley, Chely Wright, Skylar Grey, Vanessa Carlton, Angelique Kidjo, Harvey Fierstein, Deluka, Debbie Harry, Alan Cumming, and Randy Fenol.

Below are two clickable photos by Scarlett from Sunday's concert and the widescreen graphic by Fountaindawg. View the photographer's True Colors Home for the Holidays collection here.

2012 Calendars Top Past Record

A total of 129 Clay Aiken Calendars (58 desk and 71 wall) were ordered by fans this season, breaking previous sales records. Proceeds from the calendars, which have been shipped, will be donated to the National Inclusion Project.

Produced annually by
Rosaratana with photos by toni7babe, the 2012 calendar features images predominately from the 2011 Tried & True Tour and is again being published in desk and wall versions.

Hippoga, also part of the 2012 team, helped select the photos and coordinated the inclusion of 20 calendars in the silent auction for the Champions Gala, this weekend's annual event of the National Inclusion Project in Raleigh, NC.

Below are clickables of the wall and desk calendar covers:

Printed on premium glossy card stock, the calendars can still be ordered through Rosaratana with delivery after Christmas. Costs are $12 for the desk size (8.27" x 3.74") and $25 for the wall version (11" x 8.5").

To place calendar orders, Paypal or email Rosa at Checks are accepted, and she will email you the address. Process time between orders received to calendars printed and shipped is approximately 3-4 weeks.

"I’m thankful to everyone for the support they have given to the NIP every year," said Rosaratana, coordinator of the annual project.

The 2011 calendar project generated a foundation donation of $965.62 through sales plus an additional $650 in Gala auctions.

New Hanover High School Band on Parade.

Pepsi Campaign Still in Progress

About 15 minutes before I left to teach Monday's lineup of music lessons, I received an email from my brother Chuck in Wilmington: "Yo! How about another Pepsi Refresh?"

Turns out our Alma mater, the New Hanover High School Band, is in the running for a $25,000 grant.

Having applied for the competition since June 2010, the band finally gained entry into the December 2011 campaign. A quick glance at the
NHHS Pepsi Page and the band website on Monday and I knew these folks were in dire need of a crash course.

NIP Team To the Rescue

In four days, countless NIP supporters and charities with whom the foundation has partnered have come back from a long-awaited "Pepsi-less" existence and not only educated the NHHS coordinator, Dana Ward, and her troops but also introduced the novice team to possible causes for forming reciprocal alliances.

This is a sharp team, now fully functioning thanks to Royalle, who literally compiled a Pepsi Syllabus Monday afternoon. Countless NIP supporters and previous NIP partners are also helping the fledgling group.

On Monday, the NHHS Band was ranked in the 40's for the $25k grant. At "press time," they had marched to #20 with a Top 15 goal set for midnight Dec. 31. Please revive your voting techniques, use the Thank You/NC Widget in the sidebar, and help this group and the other causes listed.

Maximize: Vote 5 Charities 3 Ways

Most people reading the Carolina blog can't help but know the drill: Vote 3 ways for five charities daily: via a Pepsi ID (register if you haven't already), a Facebook ID, and a daily text of 110575 to 73774 (PEPSI).

Voting instructions and suggested comments are in the VOTE panel of the sidebar widget.

Next Time: Gala, Holiday Concerts

Almost every Clay Aiken fan I know is headed to Raleigh for this weekend's National Inclusion Project Champions Gala. I'll be playing oboe at Jamestown United Methodist Church Saturday/Sunday and planning student holiday concerts ... but more on all that next time!

Have a wonderful weekend, Clay Nation! Thank you for joining the NHHS Band and other NIP partners still vying for Pepsi funds!


Sunday, December 04, 2011

Clay Aiken Fans Applaud Broadway Benefit, Pepsi Win

HAPPY HOLIDAYS - Clay Aiken will join a huge cast performing in a holiday benefit at New York City's Beacon Theatre Sunday night. Double clickable graphic by Fountaindawg with photo by Curtis Brown.

NIP Votes for Pepsi Partners

Fans Celebrate Holiday Concert

Clay Aiken returns to Broadway Sunday evening for a special performance in the Cyndi Lauper & Friends: Home for the Holidays Concert at the Beacon Theatre.

Presented by Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Fund, the 8 p.m. benefit will help raise awareness for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered youth homelessness. Tickets are priced $35 - $500. For more information, visit the Beacon Theatre website.
"When I first learned that up to 40 percent of all homeless youth in this country identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, I was shocked and saddened," said Lauper, co-founder of the True Colors Fund.

"For far too long homeless youth have not received the attention, resources and funding necessary to bring an end to this epidemic. My hope is that through this inspiring evening of music and comedy we can raise awareness and much needed funds to help these young people."

In addition to Clay, the Beacon Theatre benefit concert will feature the talents of Lauper, Norah Jones, Lou Reed, Rosie O'Donnell, Carson Kressley, Amy Lee, Chely, Wright, Skylar Grey, Vanessa Carlton, Angelique Kidjo, Harvey Fierstein, Deluka, Debbie Harry, Alan Cumming, and Cassandra Wilson.

Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Fund is sponsoring the benefit concert.

NIP Celebrates $50k Grant Win

After securing a $50k Pepsi Refresh grant last month, National Inclusion Project supporters are voting for December participants who supported the foundation in November's successful drive.

Links and text numbers for the supporting charities, along with several causes from North Carolina, are located on the ABC panels of the above widget and the vertical version situated in the Carolina sidebar. Both were created by

The VOTE panel contains two sample comments to post on the charity's Pepsi page following your daily ballot.

Below are double clickables of
Fountaindawg's opening graphic. The second is a widescreen version.

Have a wonderful week, Clay Nation!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fans Celebrate Clay Aiken's Birthday with $50k Grant

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! - The Clay Nation hopes to deliver a $50,000 Pepsi Refresh grant for the National Inclusion Project as a gift for Clay Aiken, the foundation's co-founder. Graphic by Fountaindawg.

#2 NIP in Line for $50k Grant

CA Fans Mark Birthday by Voting

Two important events headline the network of Clay Aiken message boards -- a continuous Cyber celebration of the singer's 33rd birthday and the final push to provide his foundation, the National Inclusion Project, a $50,000 Pepsi Refresh grant.

The latter would be one of the best birthday gifts fans could give Clay, whose commitment to connecting children with special needs to all life has to offer was his focus as a special education major prior to the American Idol step into fame.

UPDATE: It's official! The National Inclusion Project will be awarded a $50,000 Pepsi Refesh grant from November's competition. The banner replica links to the NIP's finalist page at the Pepsi site:

In July 2003, during the American Idol 2 Tour, Clay and Diane Bubel of Charlotte co-founded the Bubel/Aiken Foundation, renamed the National Inclusion Project in 2009.

Amid the Clay Cyber cavalcade of birthday greetings with accompanying art work are reminders to pull out all the stops, vote with every available account, and recruit new supporters in the final hours of the grant campaign, which ironically ends at midnight on the singer's 32nd birthday.

Vote 3 ways to expand inclusive programs for all children.

New participants need to register at the Pepsi Refresh site (bottom left corner) and vote three ways: US-based email, Facebook, and by sending a mobile phone text: 109857 to 73774 (Pepsi).

The NIP Voting Widget in the sidebar includes links and text numbers for the Inclusion Project, as well as partner charities that have supported the foundation this past month.

National Inclusion Project supporters hope to mark the midnight hour of Clay's birthday with the close of a successful campaign for a $50k Pepsi grant for inclusion!

To help celebrate the day, here are clickable birthday wallpapers by graphic artists Fountaindawg, 1, 3, and AmazingCA, 2.

'In My Life' a Tribute to Teachers

As a music instructor from a long line of educators, I especially was touched that Clay performed John Lennon's "In My Life" as a tribute to the teachers in his life during the 2010 Tried & True Live! PBS Special.

On such an important day in his life, I think it appropriate that Clay sign off this blog entry with that exquisite rendition.

In My Life from Clay Aiken: Tried & True ~ LIVE!
View video full screen at YouTube.

Happy Birthday, Clay! Have a wonderfully productive day, Clay Nation!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Clay Aiken Fans Recruit Thanksgiving Voters

MERRY THANKSGIVOWEEN: Seasonal celebrations collide.
Cartoon by Mike Thompson of the Detroit Free Press.

Group Texts Before Turkey Dinner!

Holiday Commemorations Merge

Due to their proximity on the calendar and the influence of commercial activity, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas celebrations have so effectively merged that the appropriate seasonal greeting could easily be "Merry Thanksgivoween!"

The spooks of Halloween have come and gone, families are gathering for Thanksgiving Day festivities, while from radio stations from Schenectady to Spokane, Pensacola to Phoenix have begun broadcasting the third stanza of "Merry Thanksgivoween" with Clay Aiken Christmas carols.

Among the CA vocals decking the airwaves with a joyful noise are "O Holy Night," "The First Noel," "Don't Save It All for Christmas Day," "Merry Christmas with Love," and "Winter Wonderland."

Thanksgiving graphic links to 'All Is Well' montage by SueReu.

The Thanksgiving graphic by A Beautiful Mind links to SueReu's montage of "All Is Well," celebrating the second and third stanzas of the "Merry Thanksgivoween" triology.

Holidays Provide Pepsi Alternatives

Creative voting is the key in the National Inclusion Project's $50k grant campaign while visiting family and friends this Thanksgiving weekend. Daily votes for the NIP, partners, and allies via the Pepsi site, Facebook, and mobile phone are a must for regulars if the foundation is to remain in the Top 10.

Thanksgiving Weekend provides supporters with new voting recruits. Hold daily group texts --109857 to 73774 (Pepsi) -- with all who gather for holiday meals, games, and other weekend festivities.

Make sure all eligible (US citizens 13 and older) guests who can access an email account vote for the NIP during the holidays. Use the voting widget in the Carolina sidebar for ease in voting. Print and pass out these Thanksgiving fliers to garner new text votes.

Double clickable/printable NIP Pepsi fliers.

B/W double clickable/printable fliers.

Facebook Poll Offers More Ideas

Earlier this week, Scarlett posted this survey on her Facebook wall. The points in her poll provide excellent suggestions for garnering additional votes this holiday weekend.

If you are a site member, drop by her corner and take the poll. You can also share additional ideas in the comment section of this blog.

How will you increase Pepsi Refresh votes for the NIP during Thanksgiving Week?

1. Don't serve Thanksgiving turkey until everyone texts.
2. Vote early in the morning before the bedlam begins.
3. Vote at halftime, grab the remote and hold it hostage until people text, too.
4. Ask a friend to take care of your votes.
5. Vote before starting the car to drive anywhere, all passengers included.
6. Print out the NIP Pepsi Refresh fliers and hand them out wherever you go.
7. Register ID's of hosts/visitors so they can vote at the Pepsi site.
8. Vote late at night when the house is quiet again.
9. Add your suggestion.

For Clay Aiken fans who have followed tweets and photo trickles throughout the taping of a certain TV show in New York City, below are double clickable graphics by Fountaindawg -- for which we can be thankful. The second is wide screen.

Merry Thanksgivoween, Clay Nation and all you hold dear!

Thanksgiving design by Linda/ABM

Happy Thanksgiving e-cards in four styles to all who drop by the Carolina/OFC blogs throughout the year!
Thanksgiving with a Beat

Simple Gifts

Glorious Thanksgiving

Turkey Day Hoedown

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Clay Aiken Fans Add Nifty Fliers to Pepsi Campaign

INCLUSION FOR ALL CHILDREN - Inclusion is giving people their rightful opportunity to participate. Through after-school programs and summer camps, the NIP seeks to ensure that no child sits on the sidelines.

For $50k Pepsi Grant

Info Fliers Boost NIP Voting Pool

With the aid of dedicated supporters and reciprocating charities, the National Inclusion Project continues to hold the #2 slot for a November Pepsi Refresh $50k grant.

A tour of Clay Aiken message boards, Facebook, and Twitter yields constant reminders to vote and expand the voting pool for the charity co-founded by the singer in 2003. After today, readers of this blog can add fliers to their list of tools.

In the three-pronged daily Pepsi Refresh voting process, the quickest methods are by Facebook and text. The Pepsi site requires more time and patience, but dedicated followers persevere in rendering five votes per registered ID -- one each for the National Inclusion Project plus four reciprocating causes.

Links/text numbers for the NIP's partners and allies are included on the voting widget in the Carolina sidebar. A crash course in the voting procedure with a suggested comment to leave at partner sites is provided in the VOTE panel.

Like the widget, the fliers were designed and produced by Scarlett.

Double clickable/printable NIP Pepsi fliers.

Fan Garners Votes with Fliers

One of the most creative supporters in spreading the Pepsi fliers throughout her community is queenmama247. The minute these were posted on message boards her printer went into overdrive.

The single fliers can be inserted or attached to emails to family, friends, and associates. Below are some of queenmama's uses for the fliers. Post yours in the comment section and I will add them to the blog proper.

1. Leave fliers at your hair salon, and ask if one can be posted in the window.
2. Take fliers to your local hardware store, paint store, flower shop, library, laundromat, and hospital cafeteria.
The big stores aren't too receptive, but the small neighborhood stores are so kind. Most of them will put the fliers by the register. - queenmama

3. If you are attending a wedding, baby shower, or other social gathering, have the guests text a vote together. Keep the volume turned up, and the return replies will be amazing!

During last summer's Pepsi Refresh drive,
queenmama secured 200 text votes at her niece's wedding reception.

B/W double clickable/printable fliers.

4. Enlist the aid of a high school student. In many schools, assisting with this project counts toward community service credit, a high school graduation requirement.
My high school neighbor plans to see how many people he can get to text at football games and other sports events. He likes challenges. With permission, he posted a flier on the high school bulletin board. - queenmama

5. Pass the fliers out at church on Sundays and Wednesdays.

Don't forget to share the ways these fliers are helping you spread the word about the National Inclusion Project's Pepsi Refresh campaign.

Clay Aiken in New York City. - Clickable photo enhanced by Sally.

Those who are following the taping of a certain TV show in New York City will recognize the above photo of Clay as one that ran at Reality Aired on Nov. 11.

In a matter of minutes, CA fans cropped the singer and produced a profile that spread to the far reaches of Clay Cyberspace. The double clickable enhanced today by Sally is one you just might want to right-click and save.

Have an awesome week, Clay Nation!

For more information about the Inclusion Project's participation in the Pepsi Refresh, see the 11/4 blog: Clay Aiken Fans Champion Charities.

The 11/4 entry also contains previews and order info for the 2012 Clay Aiken Calendars. Order deadline is 11/22, so link to the 11/4 blog ... SOON!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Clay Aiken Fans Champion Charities

National Inclusion Project - Inclusion is giving people their rightful opportunity to participate. The NIP works every day to ensure no child sits on the sidelines.

For Pepsi Refresh Challenge

Inclusion Project Sets $50K Goal

National Inclusion Project supporters stormed out of the gate the first of November and claimed the #2 position of this month's Pepsi Refresh campaign for a $50,000 grant for the charity.

The foundation, co-founded
by singer Clay Aiken and Diane Bubel in July 2003, must finish in the top 10 to win a November grant.

Through a variety of programs, including the Let's All Play Camps,
the National Inclusion Project seeks to ensure that no child sits on the sidelines. Read more about the NIP at the foundation's website.

Register for a daily voting reminder at the NIP website. If the Inclusion Project wins a November grant, your name will be in a raffle drawing for an Apple iPad2. The daily email is excellent for forwarding to friends, relatives, and associates who will help the charity attain its goal.

Vote 3 ways to expand inclusive programs for all children.

The rules have changed since friends of the foundation successfully secured a Pepsi grant in December 2010.

* The Inclusion Project must win in November as there is no rollover from month to month.

* Advocates can vote 3 ways: via a registered Pepsi account, Facebook, and a daily text of #109857 to Pepsi (73774).

* Supporters have 5 votes for each avenue everyday, but only one NIP vote per method. Distribute the other four votes to charities supporting the foundation. These are listed in the NIP Voting Widget in this blog's sidebar.

* After each Pepsi/Facebook vote for the foundation's partners and allies, click on the Back to the Idea Page tab (upper left corner) to leave a comment. Reciprocating charities will return votes to the NIP accordingly.

* Best of all, there are no Pepsi power codes in this month's competition.

On Nov. 30, there will be 10 winners in the $50k category, now the highest award possible. Longtime supporters know the early momentum must be maintained in order to secure the grant.

Widget Makes Voting a Snap

A tremendous tool for Project supporters is the voting widget created by Scarlett with reciprocal info gathered by Royalle.

Jerry Aiken, executive director of the National Inclusion Project, not only approved the widget but also asked that supporters be reminded to vote all three ways. "We lose much-needed votes when people take the easiest route and text vote only."

Fresh off the press, the voting widget below links you directly to causes supporting the NIP.

Create your own comment, but be sure to include the NIP Pepsi page address and text number. Here is a sample:
The National Inclusion Project just voted for you. Thank you for your return votes! and Text 109857.

The widget will be available here and in the Carolina sidebar throughout November.

2012 Clay Aiken Calendars - Order by Nov. 22!
Tried & True wall calendar cover is clickable.

2012 Calendar Deadline Approaches

The 2012 Clay Aiken Calendars are going back to the Gala as auction items. But before that, fans of the singer can order Tried & True wall or desk versions through the project's coordinator.

Produced annually by
with photos by toni7babe, the 2012 calendar features images predominately from the 2011 Tried & True Tour and is again being published in desk and wall versions.

Hippoga, also part of the 2012 team, helped select the photos and coordinated the inclusion of 20 calendars in the silent auction for the Dec. 9-10 Champions Gala, annual event of the National Inclusion Project in Raleigh, NC.

Sample of monthly desk calendars. Double click to enlarge.

The calendars, printed on premium glossy card stock, can be ordered through Rosaratana between now and Nov. 22. Costs include $12 for the desk size (8.27" x 3.74") and $25 for the wall version (11" x 8.5").
To place calendar orders, Paypal or email Rosa at by Nov. 22. Checks are accepted, and she will email you the address. Process time between orders received to calendars printed and shipped is approximately 3-4 weeks.

As in the past six years, all proceeds after costs will be donated to the National Inclusion Project. Thought not an official NIP fundraiser, this project is sponsored annually by the Together for Inclusion Alpha Chapter of Aiken 4Clay.

The 2011 calendars generated a foundation donation of $965.62 through sales plus an additional $650 in Gala auctions.

Completed orders will be mailed by the first week of December.

Clickables by dancerdad.

Celebrity Apprentice Sneak Peeks

If you are following Clay Aiken message boards, tweets, or Facebook posts, you are no doubt aware that our guy is involved in another NIP fundraiser through Celebrity Apprentice.

The clickable photos above by dancerdad were taken during filming of a Celebrity Apprentice task for the show's 2012 telecast. Thursday's sale of New York City guidebooks by the men's team was well-documented by dancerdad and other Big Apple residents.

Have an awesome weekend, Clay Nation!