Clay Aiken – Moving Into New & Exciting Ways!

I have just one more day of this wonderful trip to Raleigh, North Carolina. I will be glad to get home, but sorry that the exciting time is almost over.

The Circle of Friends Champions Gala was excellent this year.  I was so impressed with the video presented by Procter & Gamble.  What a wonderful commitment they have to make sure that all people can make a difference in the workplace.

Marlana Vanhoose told us a bit about her life and followed her speech with a beautiful song.  This young lady has an amazing talent and her voice was beautiful.  I hope I will have the opportunity to hear her sing again in the future.

When Hunter and Braden Gandee walked onto the stage, one thing hit me immediately…these two young brothers really love and support each other.  Hunter and Braden understand that awareness of a need is so important.  They set out to inform their entire community about Braden and his challenges.  Did you know that 15 year old Hunter carried his brother for 57 miles at the Cerebral Palsy Swagger?

What an honor it was to hear Justin LeBlanc as he told us about his exciting life.  Justin was diagnosed with a severe-profound sensorineural hearing loss at the age of one.  But it didn’t slow him down.  He has become a successful fashion designer, teacher and reality TV star.

The stunning Lynda Loveland was The Master of Ceremonies for the Gala.  As always, she led the evening with wit and charm.  The National Inclusion Project is so fortunate to have Lynda as a friend.

The National Inclusion Project announced that Jerry Aiken was stepping down as the Executive Director of the NIP.  Jerry has been a vital part of the Project for many years and guided them into one of the top Inclusion Organizations in the United States.  Thank you, Gerry, for all the years of hard work and guidance you have given  the organization.  I hope you enjoy your retirement!

It was wonderful to hear that Nick Leisey will be the new Executive Director of the NIP. I am sure that Nick will bring much enthusiasm and hard work to the Project.  Nick has a full background in fundraising and leadership.  I can’t wait to see him leading the organization into new and exciting programs!

The following are some random pictures of the week-end.  I thank all of you who shared their pictures.  In the next few days, I will try and write more about the week-end….this traveling with a VERY old laptop can be a challenge.

Yep…thats me with Justin LeBlanc

Clay and Justin met and talked on Friday night!

Clay and Diane, the 2 founders of the National Inclusion Project on Friday evening!

Band members, Ben Cohn, Carl Carter, and Sean McDaniel

Clay stopped at each table to thank each of us for being at the Gala on Saturday night.


Thank you all for your patience the last few days!  I am going to have to find a better travel lap-top!  I just can’t put it off any longer!

It was also such an honor too meet so many of you this week-end.  Many thanks for your support of CANN!


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