Fans of Clay Aiken know about his passion and commitment to children and their inclusion into all programs and they know about the Bubel/Aiken Foundation. But, what has the foundation been up to recently??
This month, the Institute on Community Integration unveiled a new inclusive service learning program, Together We Make a Difference. In conjunction with the Bubel/Aiken Foundation, the program brings together K – 12 students with and without disabilities to make a positive difference in their communities.
The program which took 3 years to develop was funded by a $190,400 grant from the Bubel/Aiken Foundation. According to Kristy Barnes, the project’s director at the Bubel/Aiken Foundation, both the Institute on Community Integration and the Bubel/Aiken Foundation invested a significant amount of time and worked as equal partners in the creation of this unique curriculum. The goal is to engage all youth in service learning and teach social and life skills to all children. Another goal is to help dispel stereotypes about people with disabilities.
In just a few weeks, the first program will be released: Together We Make a Difference: An Inclusive Service Learning Curriculum for Elementary Learners With and Without Disabilities. This is the first of three curricula to be used in schools and youth organizations. Later in 2009, the two other programs will be released.
The program, which provides teachers with lesson plans includes national standards in English and Social Studies. It was field tested in seven schools in Minnesota, North Carolina and California during the past two years. Students and teachers were asked for feedback which helped shape the development of the program.
Kristy Barnes is the project’s director at the Bubel/Aiken Foundation. Kristy said of the project; “The Bubel/Aiken Foundation is excited about the impact of this curriculum. By giving children the opportunity to learn more about each other and make a difference in their community, we will see what young people of all abilities are capable of doing together.”
Six years ago, Clay Aiken had a college dream. He wanted to make a difference. It must be very exciting and fulfilling for him to see the dream grow and develop into a leadership role in the field of Inclusion for All Children.
For more information, visit the Institute on Community Integration