Aloha, Clay

Clay Aiken

Clay Aiken

For most people, a trip to Hawaii in February is an ideal vacation.  But to Clay Aiken, it was all business when he visited Waikiki in 2005. Clay was in Hawaii to be the keynote speaker at the 21st Annual Pacific Rim Conference on Disabilities.  The event was sponsored by the University Of Hawaii Center on Disability Studies.

But on February 25, 2005, three days before the conference, the Bubel/Aiken Foundation held an event called “Voices for Change”, a gala dinner/fund-raiser at the Sheraton Waikiki.

Clay wore two hats that night.  He was a performer, singing five songs from his Multi-platinum album and then took on the role as an advocate for the Inclusion of All Children.

Diane Bubel and Clay honored two Hawaii residents, disabilities activist Susan Rocco and state Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland.  Both received the TBAF Champion of Change Award for their work in “the disabilities awareness arena.”

“We don’t do this everywhere”, said Clay. “We pick communities with people who have really made a difference. The senator has done a lot of work in the legislature advocating for the disabled community.”

When asked to what was the biggest challenge for the Bubel/Aiken Foundation, Clay said; “To change the way that everyone thinks about people with disabilities.  To change the mind set that they need to be in a special classroom….it’s been very segregationist almost.  That’s the biggest thing for me…  people opening their minds and their eyes to the possibilities of assimilation.  When people ask how they can help, you have to start with yourself.”

On the 4th anniversary of the Voices For Change in Hawaii, it is wonderful to look back and see how well Clay has been able to juggle his commitments to TBAF with the demands of his entertainment career.  Congratulations, Clay, for all you have done for children all over the world.

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5 thoughts on “Aloha, Clay

  1. Gosh…I love looking back at all these things…Over the years, it’s not that we forget what Clay has done…but they just kind of get filed away…

    When I started reading this, I was thinking to myself…oh yes…I remember this… His first trip to Hawaii…I believe his grandmother (Amaryllis) was there as well.

    Thanks again CANN for all these trips down memory lane…..These are the things that really endeared us to Clay, and it still goes on…

    Right now we don’t know what Clay is up to, but I’m sure he is very busy with either, his career,in setting up a label/his label..whatever it may be, but his professional career. Whether it be a Unicef trip, or being a great father to Parker… Clay’s life is full right now, and I couldn’t be prouder of this young man…He amazes me, he truly does…


  2. I am very proud of Clay for his work with children. TBAF is a wonderful charitable organization that has benefited both children with and without disabilities. Clay Aiken is making a difference!!

  3. What a perfect answer to biggest challenge question, it applies to so many things in this world. Clay Aiken is one very intelligent man.

  4. Thanks for this article. I still remember listening to his speech from that conference (downloaded it and listened). Was so impressed with him and continue to be in awe of all the good he does.

  5. I remember someone sending this to me as a new fan and thinking Good Lord, this man really does everything! He is certainly making a difference in the lives of many children.

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