The Bubel/Aiken Foundation hosted a gala benefit dinner, “Florida Voices for Change” on Saturday, April 16, 2005. The event, held at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center was a huge success and remembered with excitement by all in attendance.
Registration for the event started and 6:30pm and was followed by a silent auction. The dinner was served at 8 pm.
Two Florida leaders were presented with the first annual “Florida Champions for Change” awards at the gala. They were Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman and State Representative Susan K. Goldstein. Both ladies were honored for their work for Florida children living with developmental Disabilities.
Clay Aiken did not give a long speech that night. He spoke without a script and said, “I am winging it.” He talked about how the Foundation had become a success and how he cannot thank people enough. He said he was surprised that so many others have taken up the cause and spread it throughout the country. He was pleases that so many had not just helped the children, but also the families of the children.
In thanking the volunteers for all their efforts, Clay said: “Don’t clap for me. Clap for yourself.”
Clay’s good friend Quiana Parler joined Clay to entertain the Gala participants. She started off the program by singing a beautiful song titled “River Deep, Mountain High.” Her second number, “I will Always Love You,” was performed well and the audience gave Quiana a huge ovation.
One humorous event in the program was when Clay was singing his hit song, “The Way.” He stopped and said, “Y’all got me really flustered and I can’t remember the words.” No one seemed to care at all.
The highlight of the evening performance was Clay’s rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Clay was joined by the Michael M. Krop Senior High School choir and the audience stood to express their excitement of the performance.
Today’s Caregiver Magazine presented Clay with the Robert M. Barg Memorial Achievement Award for his dedication to families and others who take care of people with disabilities.
Besides the Gala, the day was very busy for Clay. He spent part of the day, planting trees with the South Florida Best Buddies organization. Clay also was the keynote speaker at Today’s Caregiver Magazine’s Fearless Caregiver Conference. That’s a lot to do in one day.
According to fan reports of the evening, Clay looked handsome in a navy blue suit, white shirt and striped tie. Most eyes were on his black boots which were very popular with his fans.
The Florida Gala was one of the earlier events in TBAF history. It was a wonderful evening for the fans and a great fundraiser for the Foundation.
The following is a video by SueReu that shows what the Florida Gala was all about. Enjoy!!