No Child Should Sit On The Sidelines – Clay Aiken


It started out as a project for college graduation.  Today, it is a leading voice for inclusion so that all children can be fully immersed in society.  It is the National Inclusion Project.

By this time, most of us know the history and the hard work that has been put into the National Inclusion Project. And I am sure we all want to congratulate Clay Aiken, Diane Bubel and the entire staff of the National Inclusion Project for all their success.  It has been a joy to watch their vision become reality.

Like many of you, I have spent some time reading the National Inclusion Project web-site.  It is all very impressive.   I was amazed at the incredible list of names that are tied to the Project in its quest for inclusion.

The National Inclusion Project works with many different organizations including:

“YMCAs, Best Buddies International, Boys & Girls Clubs, CampFire USA, 4H, the ARC – as well as many other local parks and recreation departments, community centers, and privately-run programs.”

And look at the impressive list of institutions that have formed partnerships with The National Inclusion Project.  They include:

“Johns Hopkins University’s National Center for Summer Learning, the University of Massachusetts-Boston’s Center for Social Development and Education, the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability, the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration, and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center.”

Next, I visited the Annual Report.  It was interesting to read that the National Inclusion Project has 100 + partners in 38 states. Over 15,000 children benefit annually from their association with the Project.  Yes…that 15,000 children of all abilities that have a chance to play and learn together.

Perhaps one of the most impressive statements on the page is short, but telling:

The National Inclusion Project has a 4 Star rating from Charity Navigator.  Charity Navigator is the nation’s largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities. Their team of professional analysts has examined tens of thousands of non-profit financial documents.

I also found it interesting that 94% of the income for the Project comes from individual donations…that’s you and me, plus many others who through generosity, find a way to support this worthy organization.  Yes, it’s easy to decide to support the Project when you know the money is being used correctly.

If you haven’t had a chance, take a look at their website. It is full of interesting facts and you will come away with a feeling of pride for this great accomplishment.  Clay, Diane and their dedicated staff have done so much in bringing awareness of inclusion to the public.

In just a few hours, I am on my way to Charlotte, North Carolina to attend the All In Perfect Harmony Champions Gala!  This two day event is always a highlight of the year. Not only will I get to see Nick Leisey, Diane Bubel, and Clay Aiken, I will get to celebrate the event with the many friends I have made because of our support of The National Inclusion Project.

After hearing the honorees and enjoying the musical program, I know I will come home, excited, full of hope, and ready to work just a bit harder in my support of Inclusion and The National Inclusion Project!

Will I see you there?


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  1. I am so very proud of Clay for staying true to his word to helping others, This foundation is a blessing to all children! I am also proud of NIP for its dedication for all these years!

  2. This organization is doing wonderful things for children who are often excluded because of their disabilities. It helps those kids and teaches others about inclusion.

  3. Great article about the National Inclusion Project. It has been wonderful watching it grow. Have fun at the Gala

  4. I enjoyed reading the blog today. I am very proud of Clay and Diane for starting such a wonderful organization. It is amazing to read how many kids are involved.

    Thank you for sending us great news every day!

  5. I remember when Clay first started the Aiken-Bubel Foundation. I was very proud of him then and I am still proud that he is involved and the NIP is a leader in Inclusion.

    Thanks for reminding me about all the great things that Clay has done in 13 years.

  6. I love the National Inclusion Project. I try to send them a small donation each year. I am also proud of Diane and Clay for what they have put together.

    Thank you for reminding us!

  7. I'm looking forward to being there. I've been a supporter of inclusion for all children since the 1970's. When Clay founded the National Inclusion Project, I knew I had to support this amazing organization.

  8. How proud Clay & Diane must be of the organization that they started. As an art teacher I had inclusion students in my classes. I think they definitely benefitted from the experience. I hope you will be able to bring back a video, or interview to share with us. ❤️ Day 1 fan w/unconditional love for Clay.

  9. I remember when Clay first spoke about the Bubel/Aiken Foundation. Later there was a contest to rename the organization and it became NIP. Who would have believed that its influence would reach so many children. I will not be attending the Gala, but I did make a donation on line. Have a wonderful time. Can't wait until you can share with us all the news.

  10. The Gala is a wonderful event sharing what the foundation has been able to do. I was a member of a parent of spec ed children in the 70s and am happy to see what NIP has accomplished. All children at my church are included by the congregation. Have a wonderful weekend.
    Mary Anne

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