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ldyjocelyn

# 67: Everywhere He Goes, The People Love Him!

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Hey to jmh and soulsista4clay. I've been getting ready for taxes and will do a little WFI this coming week. Still can't walk very well after my surgery so I've been doing PT twice a week also. after not seeing my granddaughter for 8 years, we have become very close and we see her 5 days a week. Tomorrow night she will sing two solos at her singing recital . Looking forward to this. She is 12. But I still have time to listen to Clay and am looking forward to his next career move.

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Oh my fear!I am so glad you now see your granddaughter. This will indeed be a special Christmas for you.

Hi to everyone! I miss bringing the snippets of news about Clay.

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Just checking in. Hope everyone has started their Christmas shopping (notice I didn't say "finished")? LOL I am usually still running around looking for things on the 24th. That's great news about your granddaughter Fear!

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He's alive!

Celebrating the holidays with some of NC most dedicated volunteers: the @RCDemParty So blessed to know them all! pic.twitter.com/1MLISw9zz9

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I'm glad everyone is checking in! Fear, please take care of yourself, and give that granddaughter a hug from me! I hope couchie is doing OK with the storm in California.

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Except for a working "party" day next Wednesday -- I'm off work until January 5! WOOHOOO!!!!!!!

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The radio station I wake up to every morning has been playing Christmas music for the past four weeks. This morning, I was getting ready for church and was thinking to myself that I hadn't heard Clay yet. Lo and behold, literally the next song I heard? "The First Noel" by one Mr. Clay Aiken! Woohoo. Nice way to start my morning.

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I've been out of town. I guess nothing much happened in the Clay universe.

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Fro CV:

Clay's interview in the Leesville School Paper

Mycenaean

Mycenaean Exclusive: Clay Aiken reflects on life, politics, career to date

December 15, 2014 

Clay Aiken speaks about himself during a video for this year's political campaign.

In eighth grade at Leesville Road Middle School, Clay Aiken interviewed former Governor Terry Sanford for an essay about someone he admired. While most students talked to their youth minister, dance teacher, or scout leader, Aiken called up the former governor–who helped create the N.C. community college system and RTP, who consolidated the university system, who was the only governor in the South to speak out against segregation in the sixties–and talked to him about his career and his propensity for standing up for things that weren’t always popular, but were always important.

And now, after American Idol, the National Inclusion Project and his run for office, it is clear Aiken is acting in Sanford’s image.

Aiken, born and raised in North Carolina, ran for Congress in an effort to give back to his home state–to use everything at his disposal to help people in his community, though this campaign was certainly not his first attempt at helping others. Running for office–despite his defeat–was just a new way of doing it.

“People being able to say that I have used the microphone that I got to bring attention to things that weren’t getting attention brought to them, to be able to tell people’s stories, to be able to get folks to be engaged in issues they normally wouldn’t be engaged in… lives a lot longer than any CD sales,” said Aiken.

Despite where he is today, during his time at Leesville, Aiken never thought he would go into politics. He didn’t think he would sing either. Then, Aiken saw himself teaching.

“I had planned to be a teacher, I had planned to be in the classroom, and then this American Idol thing came along, and I said, ‘Okay, well, I’ll give it a shot.’ I could have said, ‘No, that’s not part of my plan…’ but had I done that, I wouldn’t have gotten the opportunities I have today,” Aiken said.

Before Idol, Aiken taught special ed at Brentwood Elementary and worked at YMCA summer camps and after school programs. There, in addition to learning so much from the kids, Aiken witnessed his special ed kids–and thousands of others–being barred from going to the after school programs and summer camps that he ran in the afternoons and summer. The YMCA didn’t have the training or the resources to include the kids with autism or other disabilities into their regular programs.

“In schools, there are laws that say children with disabilities have to be included… But there’s not law that requires [these] kids get included outside of public educational facilities,” said Aiken.

Aiken mentioned the inequity on Idol, and, rather suddenly, people started sending checks to Aiken’s mother’s house, made out to “The Clay Aiken Foundation.” Two months after Idol, there were over $50,000 worth of checks made out to this foundation that, at the time, did not exist.

“I decided to turn [the money] into something real… so we started [the National Inclusion Project],” said Aiken.

That vision of what his newfound notoriety could do became the basis of what is now called The National Inclusion Project.

The National Inclusion Project is exactly what its name implies–an effort to better include special needs kids in programs across the United States, including camps and after school. The Project trains after school programs, encouraging them to include kids with disabilities. Aiken’s influence is the reason our local YMCA now incorporates special needs kids in all of their programs, and his influence with the National Inclusion Project has done the same in many other places.

Whether his work with the National Inclusion Project or across the globe with UNICEF, Aiken has a well-established record of helping people, hands-on, and his impact on others’ lives is all he could ever hope to be known for.

“There’s being known for selling a lot of albums, there’s being known for winning awards, there’s being known for being famous, or there’s those folks who are remembered for having done something that had a lasting impression outside of the entertainment world… Respect and doing something that impacts peoples lives in a positive way is going to end up lasting longer,” Aiken said.

All that he’s done, coupled with his belief that there is a way to help people through politics, makes it no surprise Aiken ran for office, but there were certainly aspects of what he learned during his campaign that surprised and unsettled him, including the importance of money.

“We all grow up and pay attention to politics and believe–and hope, really–the most important things in electing our officials are what their positions are, and what they’ve done or haven’t done, or their ability to do the job…[but] I think nowadays money has a much stronger place in politics than anybody quite understands,” said Aiken.

Aiken also sees voter apathy as one of the biggest problems today–due to hundreds of reasons, like not thinking one vote matters, the nastiness of politics, and gerrymandered districts.

“Folks are very ticked off at how partisan politics has become… Most of the people in this country live within twenty yards of the fifty yard line. Everybody is a little bit to the right, or a little bit to the left… And then there’s another twenty percent that are far in the end zone, and the only people who participate are [those people],” said Aiken.

Aiken believes one part of alleviating voter apathy lies in ensuring people know their vote matters. Decisions about college loans and interest rates are being made by the politicians people are and are not voting for–politics, however nasty, affects everyone.

After every impressive thing he has done, there is one lesson Aiken wishes he had learned earlier, and it goes back to his eighth grade report on Terry Sanford: the importance of staying true to yourself, in life and politics.

“[sanford] is still the person who I consider to be not just a political idol, but a personal idol because he… didn’t temper his opinions or change his views or become somebody other people believed he should be… That’s the way to be successful in life…[staying] true to yourself,” said Aiken

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*sneaks in* pssst.... I really really love Sam Smith's album!

Hey you. Long time no see! Good to hear from you.

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Hey shorty -- glad to see you around. I really do want to check out Sam Smith's album. And it just goes to show how music is so subjective! (And that's why I never try to "push" Clay around anyone -- for every person like me who loves his stuff, there's at least one person who just doesn't get him. Shrug....)

Had a nice surprise yesterday as I was out running errands -- got to hear Clay's "Mary, Did You Know" on the Sirius XM Christmas channel! Woohoo!

Back to making Chex Mix...

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I really like Sam Smith. I found an Xmas EP by a singer called Harriet, from England. At times you'd think it was Karen Carpenter singing! It's called Maybe This Christmas.

I have Clay playing at work right now. His voice is amazing especially on the Christmas songs.

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From Twitter, via CV:

Amy Lewis ‏@ay_meelew · 9h9 hours ago

so Clay Aiken came into work today!

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uh oh having a flashback..something about fresh laundry. LOL. I need to add some Clay christmas music to my phone stat.

For the Sam Smith lovers..I've only heard him sing live once and I didn't feel it. But I guess I'll see him on the grammys. I usually watched that. I found Adele that way 2 yeas after everyone else.

Luckiest - So I failed miserably in your son's survivor poll. I picked the wrong twin to win the whole thing!!

My mom is doing well in rehab. Not sure if I've even mentioned anything here. She's back to her old self..just needs to gain strength. Hopefully we can bring her home for xmas for a few hours. So my week consisted of work/visiting mom/ getting home around 9 and falling into bed.

Today got a $500 christmas bonus. That was unexpected. I also got a $50 gift card to the restaurant where the xmas party was held. I was the one person actually looking forward to it but missed it because my mom her stroke that morning. Also nice was that my boss is paying me for the day I missed and I don't have to use a vacation day or sick day. all in all, the job did well by me this week.

I started on my xmas shopping just today. Ordered some fingernail art for my neice Alexandria. She loves that sort of thing. I'm not buying a lot this year as I don't know how i'm going to handle the mom coming home, can not be alone thing yet.

Anyway, happy holidays. Hope you are all doing well.

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couchie, congratulations on the bonus! That must feel rather nice this time of year. Hopefully Mom will continue to do better!

Those pictures are wonderful! Wish I could see them bigger -- if anyone sees them in a larger size, let me know and I'll post them here. And notice it says the special will be on TV April 2015. Woohoo!!!! I cannot wait for this!

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From Facebook, via CV:

Karl Johnson Cutarts ‏@cutarts 13m13 minutes ago

Yesteray during the silhouette event Peek...Aren't You Curious. @clayaiken http://fb.me/3YkjAHg4T

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The store is a children's clothing place in Santa Monica, CA.

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Clay is back in Raleigh...

Paige Wheeler ‏@PaigeWheeler1 3m3 minutes ago

Just saw Clay Aiken at The Pit in Raleigh!

Lauren Elderkin ‏@Lauren_elderkin 6m6 minutes ago

PSA I'M IN THE SAME RESTAURANT AS CLAY AIKEN RIGHT NOW

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