Clay Aiken – An Evening of Love, Pride, Humor, and Excitement

On Friday night,I attended the Founder’s Reception at the National Inclusion Projects Champions Gala.  Held at the Marriott City Center in Raleigh, there were about 200 people in attendance.

After a nice welcome from Jerry Aiken, the event started with each attendee taking a professional picture with Diane Bubel and Clay Aiken.  There was a long table of excellent food and two bars for beverages.

The special guest speaker was D.J. Svoboda, a young man who was diagnosed at the age of 3 with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Today, D.J. is an dynamic, motivational public speaker, accomplished artist and author with three books to his credit.

D.J. spoke about bullying and the importance of respecting yourself and others.  He had the entire audience on their feet.

D.J. Svoboda

Following D.J.’s presentation, Diane, Clay and Dr. Zak Fathi made up a panel that answered questions about the Project.  Aron Hall asked the panel some questions that had been sent in by members of the audience.  The questions were interesting and the answers provided information about the progress the Project has accomplished in the last 11 years.

Aron Hall

Each panel member was relaxed but serious when answering the questions and they all seemed to enjoy sharing the information.

Diane Bubel

Dr Zak Fathi

The evening ended with two auctions…the first was a dinner with Clay for 10 people.  The excitement of the bidding grew as it reached the winning bid of $28,000.  Two bids tied so Clay offered the dinner to both bidders.

Next, Clay introduced Tucker who had a surprise for another auction.  She opened the box and pulled out Clay’s green plaid shirt.  After a busy bit of bidding, the shirt was bought for $2,500.

Tucker Middleton

What a wonderful night.  It was filled with love, pride, humor,and excitement for the future.

A big thank you to Sue Reu who shared her pictures of the evening with us!!





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7 thoughts on “Clay Aiken – An Evening of Love, Pride, Humor, and Excitement

  1. Wow, sounds like terrific fun and a very successful first night of fund raising! Thanks to you and Sue Reu for the wonderful report and pictures. Looking forward to more great news about Saturday night!

  2. Thanks for sharing the photos and excitement of the evening with us. I think of that green shirt as the 'parrot shirt'. Clay and the parrot were a matched pair at the fair. Enjoy the rest of the weekend in Raleigh with Clay and your many friends.

  3. Love all the news about the Gala since I couldn't attend, the photos are great, thanks Suerue and thanks Musicfan xox.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing all these photos & info. I think it is hilarious that they auctioned off the "parrot" shirt. I'm actually surprised he gave it up. Thanks again SueReu.

    Ladies, keep the photos coming!! Have fun!! (like I need to tell you)

  5. I'm at the gala but didn't attend the reception. Thanks for the information. I wonder what shirt will show up next. Should have auctioned the khaki pants for the complete look. NOT lol

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