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