Sunday, October 19, 2008

Clay Aiken & Champions of Change

Is it possible to fall in love all over again? Not that I ever fell out of love with Clay Aiken - but I'm drawn back in to that place where Clay curls up in my heart and it's like a kitten purring. I want to wrap my arms around him. Around Jaymes. Around Parker. I want the world for them all.

MrNan and I were talking about how now - even after five years - we have such an emotional connection to the man that Clay Aiken is. He can make us laugh. Then think. Then feel. Then cry. In the space of one minute. He is an entertainer - of that I have no doubt. But he is also a caring and generous young man who's truly made a difference.

Last night, The Bubel/Aiken Foundation held a gala benefit with the goal to promote awareness of the benefits of inclusion and to support The Bubel/Aiken Foundation’s programs which give children with disabilities the opportunity to experience life with their typical peers.

From the BAF website:

"Our Vision
The Bubel/Aiken Foundation envisions a world where young people with developmental disabilities are totally immersed in all life has to offer. The desegregation of programs, jobs, services, and educational opportunities will benefit children with and without special needs. We will break down barriers that divide by helping families obtain the services, support and financial assistance that makes full inclusion possible. We will work to educate the public and motivate society to move toward full inclusion as a way of life."

This year's honorees were:

CVS Caremark, a Corporate Champion of Change for their outstanding efforts to improve the lives of children with disabilities.

Dan Habib & Betsy McNamara, Champions of Change for their film, Including Samuel which tells their son’s story of inclusion, along with the trials and triumphs of four other subjects.

Rich Donovan, Champion of Change for applying his world-class business acumen to creating means of empowerment for people with disabilities.

Clay's wish for the evening was that “. . . everyone will join us for an enjoyable evening including dinner, silent and live auctions, entertainment - all in support of inclusive opportunities for all children.”

From the first-hand reports of the evening . . . and the video that was taken - it looks like Clay's goal was met. The BAF raised $207,000 from the live auction alone.

I just listened to his speech. I am in awe of what Clay has accomplished. He said, not that many years ago on American Idol, that he wanted to make a difference. He did. And still is.

I just watched him sing Everything I Don't Need and I am aching for a tour -- for the chance to be on my feet dancing at the next concert.

I just listened to him singing Right Here Waiting with such poignancy and tenderness

I've always loved being a Clay Aiken fan. Now I'm more proud and more in love than ever.

Special thanks to thankful4clay and lonelynomore44 for their video.

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Anonymous said...

"I've always loved being a Clay Aiken fan. Now I'm more proud and more in love than ever. "

Me too. I'm so happy the Gala was a huge success and from the video the entertainment sure was!

I know Clay and the Foundation will continue to bring awareness and work for the inclusion of all children.


katy said...

I've loved hearing/seeing the reports from the BAF Gala for Clay Aiken's foundation.
Not only has Clay made a difference but he is still the same wonderful, talented soul we met on AI.

Pink Armchair said...

I was there last night -- oh, he was phenomenal! And so moving. And so eloquent. And so funny. There's nobody like him, or ever will be.

The honorees and their stories were quite inspiring, and I was very proud to be there to support this organization and its commitment to inclusion.

aching4atour2 said...

Beautiful blog , Nan . You put words to the thoughts and feelings so many of us share .

What a wonderful evening for TBAF , for Clay Aiken , for all of us .

Corabeth said...

In a long list of favorite moments from the clack, I do think my most favorite is the fangirly screaming after Well, Well when he started EIDN and the smile that lit up his face after that. It was the nothing has changed smile.

I hope media, critics, producers, directors, the public will see past the veil of rumors that surrounded Clay Aiken and really see the MAN, the entertainer, the soul of this advocate for the world's children. This is a man who should be embraced, for his talents, his faults and his heart.

Ashes said...

A beautiful blog. Clay is an amazing young man. He's a darling in every way possible.

Anonymous said...

After reading this blog, I realized that I was not the only one who felt like they fell in love with Clay all over again---not that I was out of love, but I felt a renewal of the first excitement I felt when seeing Clay live. There really is nothing like it. There is just something about this man that is a gift to all who are fortunate enough to "get it" and hopefully we are are gift to him, as well.

Chardonnay said...

Beautiful post Nan! And yes, I think it IS definitely possible to fall in love all over again. Second time around.. and all that. In fact, somebody wrote a song about it I think. And it was a good one.

Anonymous said...

Nan thank you for the beautiful blog. I too fell in love with Clay all over again. Such a beautiful voice. Such a beautiful heart and soul. Such a kind, gentle man. I am so happy that he is now free to love whomever he wants to love.

IU Gal

Terrell Dougan said...

It's always nice when celebrities lend their voice to good causes like that! I'm no celebrity, but I have a sister who has a developmental disability, and recently chronicled my adventures in growing up with her in my new memoir, That Went Well: Adventures in Caring for My Sister. If you’d like to learn more about it, do drop by my website,