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Doing some housekeeping. I guess all the TBAF news is being kept with the regular Clay News. I want to keep it separate going forward. So this is a bit dated but wanted to start the thread with the Fifth grader news.


Multi-platinum Recording Artist Clay Aiken Slated for Celebrity Edition of Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Multi-platinum recording artist

Clay Aiken will be testing his mental mettle against a group of brainy

fifth graders. Mr. Aiken, co-founder of The Bubel/Aiken Foundation (TBAF),

is slated to appear on the upcoming celebrity version of Fox's hit game

show, Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?

Aiken will be playing to raise money for TBAF which will receive a

minimum $25,000 for Clay's appearance. But Aiken plans on earning much more

for his foundation. The Foundation earns money for each question Clay

answers correctly. Should he correctly answer all 11 questions, the

Foundation will earn one million dollars.

"We're excited about Clay's appearance on the show to fundraise for the

Foundation. Fox has given us a great opportunity to move closer to our goal

of 100 Let's ALL Play camps in 2008. Clay's appearance will also gain

exposure for our goals of full inclusion. Of course we're hoping to win the

million, but Clay's being part of their hit show will be great for the

Foundation either way," said Jerry Aiken, executive director, TBAF.

The Bubel/Aiken Foundation's Let's ALL Play initiative brings an

inclusive recreational and learning experience to all children by giving

children with developmental disabilities the same summer camp experience.

Children of all abilities come together to participate in recreational

activities including swimming, baseball, archery, arts and crafts, physical

fitness, and community service. Let's ALL Play encourages children's

organizations nationwide to move toward full inclusion by offering as a

resource a tested, successful, comprehensive model supported through

specialized training.

Let's ALL Play has become a viable option for YMCAs and other

children's organizations nationwide which seek the ideal of becoming fully

inclusive. The goal is to implement inclusive recreational programs

nationwide to reach thousands of children with 100 camps by 2008.

Hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy, Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?

airs on Fox's Thursday night lineup. Aiken will be taping his appearance

August 28th with the Celebrity Edition airing to be announced later. The

season's premiere is slated for September 6, 8pm Eastern and 9pm Central.

About The Bubel/Aiken Foundation: The Bubel/Aiken Foundation serves to

bridge the gap that exists between young people with special needs and the

world around them. The Foundation supports communities with inclusive

programs and works to create awareness about the possibilities that

inclusion can bring. For more information visit the Foundation on line at


SOURCE The Bubel/Aiken Foundation

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TBAF to Receive Proceeds From Chicken Soup Book

Recently, the popular book brand, Chicken Soup for the Soul, released Chicken Soup for the Soul: Children with Special Needs . The book is a collection of powerfully moving stories of resiliency, love, and promise told by family members, teachers, and people who have special needs. These amazing, personal stories illustrate how people touched by special needs face and overcome challenge.

TBAF's own Kristy Barnes has "The Dance" published in the book. The story comes from one of TBAF's Let's ALL Play programs and features two campers with disabilities who take the lead in some typical teenage activities.

As an added benefit, Chicken Soup for the Soul will donate a portion of the proceeds to TBAF. TBAF is featured prominently in the back of the book. You can find the book at any major retailer. The ISBN # is 0-7573-0620-9.


Our Friend Mikayla Receives Great Review

From the September 2007 issue of Family Connection

Access the full issue here: www.boulderparenting.org/fc/Family_Connection_09-07.pdf

"This book gives me hope," said Diane Mosley, mother of a boy with significant disabilities similar to Mikayla. "It shows in simple terms that it is possible to welcome a student who uses a wheelchair, can not speak, and has medical issues. These kids welcome Mikayla."

Mikayla's third grade classmates at Lower Nazareth Elementary School in Nazareth, Pennsylvania wrote and illustrated Our Friend Mikayla . This is not a pity book. It is an honest account of how a group of nine-year-olds discovered that at our core, we are more alike than different. On the first page they write, "She is in a wheelchair and has lots of disabilities. But that does not mean we cannot be friends."

This is a rare book. Rare because it comes from other children; not from adults telling them how to feel or act. It addresses the reality of more students with significant needs being included in regular classrooms. Accompanied by bright watercolor and ink illustrations, the children tell their readers about Mikayla. They acknowledge that when Mikayla first came to their class, they were afraid of her. They write, "we felt scared because we though Mikayla was different and not like a 'normal' kid."

But they learned that there was nothing to be scared of. They learned this because adults gave them information, opportunities, and held the expectation that they would figure it out. They did. They learned she was in a wheelchair because she had brain damage. They learned she like bright colors, American Idol, and shopping for clothes. They learned she can skate at Rollerway using her wheelchair.

Though the adults take a backseat in the book, this book would not have happened without a strong teacher and Mikayla's family to help them understand how to include Mikayla. "As this book shows, kids are accepting of differences, it's usually the adults who create the barriers," says Diane. "Teachers are the ones who can encourage children to be involved with a student with disabilities. Too often the adults prevent inclusion because of safety concerns."

"People were way too protective of Spencer," Diane explains." So he missed out on lots of opportunities. In this book, the kids figured out that she could be the pitcher in kickball by pushing the ball down a ball ramp. I would have loved to see that for Spencer."

People with significant disabilities are both easier and more difficult to include in regular classroom. Easier because it's obvious they have limitations so others know they need help with most tasks. More difficult because it requires effort to find out who the person is, what they like, what they can do, and what is most helpful to them. It's a challenge to see someone as a learner when their ability to communicate is so compromised. Kids usually know a lot more about their classmates then adults think they do.

As our country slowly understands that all students, regardless of abilities, have the right to be in regular classrooms and part of their communities, we will need tools to learn how to talk about differences and similarities. We are not all the same and treating everyone fairly does mean that everyone is treated equally.

Our Friend Mikayla is a wonderful resource for teachers. Reading about someone else who has a disability is a safe way to start a conversation. This picture book, in its refreshingly matter-of-fact approach, gives readers a way to talk about fears, obstacles, similarities, and disabilities.

With tears in her eyes, Diane said, "this book says so eloquently what our dream was for our son." Spencer died in 2006, but he leaves a standard for those he touched. Can we create inclusive learning environments where Spencer, like Mikayla is understood, valued, and an active participant in school and in life? The children close the book by saying that they hope that Mikayla will be in their class again. That is more than a welcome, that is an invitation to someone they have come to know. We should all feel that wanted.

Anna Stewart, mother, mentor and author, has published over 300 articles. She is the author of Mother Blessings: Honoring Women Becoming Mothers , an artful guide for creating ceremonies for pregnant women or families adopting. Order it at www.wovenword.com or www.amazon.com. She also serves as an instructor for coaching pregnant women through the Academy for Coaching Parents (www.acpi.biz). Go to her website, www.motherhands.com for more information on Anna's workshops.

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Boy to Share Our Friend Mikayla

Boy to share 'Our Friend' with new set of friends

Monday, September 10, 2007


The Express-Times

NAZARETH | A 6-year-old boy used the last days of his summer vacation over the Labor Day weekend to raise money and buy copies of the book "Our Friend Mikayla."

Dante Requena, a first-grader at Shafer Elementary, hosted a yard sale and lemonade stand for two days and collected enough cash to buy 36 copies of the book written by Mikayla Resh's third-grade classmates at Lower Nazareth Elementary.

The book chronicles the friendship between the authors and Mikayla and shows her classmates have much in common with her even though she is disabled. The students drew the book's pictures and wrote the story.

The book was published in 2006 by "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken's Bubel/Aiken Foundation.

Dante's mother, Debbie Requena, shot down his request to catch tadpoles at Jacobsburg Environmental Center and sell them to raise money.

She told Dante if he wanted to raise money, he needed to come up with another idea. He thought of the yard sale and then picked buying the books because his mother is one of Mikayla's home health nurses.

Dante believes children everywhere will enjoy the book. His favorite part is the page depicting Aiken on "American Idol."

That page was drawn and written by Logan Houptley, who also happened to stop by Dante's yard sale. Houptley bought a cookie, handed Dante $50 and told him to keep the change.

Kristy Barnes, president of the Bubel/Aiken Foundation, said the foundation has sold more than 2,500 copies of the book so far and ordered another 5,000. The foundation also uses the book as part of a K-12 curriculum for inclusion it created.

"It is great to see children embracing that message and understanding the importance of communicating it to others by creating the book and donating copies of the book," Barnes said.

Debbie Requena said they are still working on where to send all 36 books. The foundation's goal is to have one in every elementary school and library across America.

Dante has an idea of where a few copies will go.

"Canada, Bermuda and Antarctica," Dante said.

Reporter JD Malone can be reached at 610-759-4599 or by e-mail at jdmalone@express-times.com .

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From an email from Aron Hall:

What an exciting beginning to 2008 we have had! Our Golfing for Inclusion event in Florida was a huge success as we introduced our mission of inclusion to over 500 people who had not heard of us previously. Many were touched and pledged their support going forth. We also received great news from our annual Holiday fundraiser, Wrapping for Inclusion. We set a lofty goal of raising $100,000 at wrapping sites around the US and actually exceeded it with a total of over $102,000! That is a 59% increase from our total in 2006.

We now have another opportunity to raise funds and awareness for our mission of opening doors for children with disabilities. Read below to find out how you can partner with us in America’s Giving Challenge.

Along with the Case Foundation, Parade Magazine is presenting America’s Giving Challenge and awarding $500,000 to charities whose supporters have attracted the most unique donors to their cause using new and innovative online tools.

Who can participate:

Anyone with access to the Internet, a willingness to try something new, and the passion and commitment to advocate on behalf of a cause they care about. The entire Challenge is designed to take place online, involving the use of such everyday activities as e-mailing, blogging, and social networking.

How it works:

Champion a Cause and have the chance to get $50,000 for the charity of your choice. The eight individuals whose charity badges attract the most unique donors through the America’s Giving Challenge will get $50,000 for their cause.

Click here to go to our badge: http://www.networkforgood.org/pca/Badge.aspx?BadgeId=109694

The Challenge will close January 31 at 3pm EST.

A quick note about unique donations:

To succeed at the Challenge, the objective is to get as many people as you can to donate to your cause. Duplicate donations from the same individual will only be counted once.

What do I do now:

1. Donate! A $10 donation is all we need for your donation to register in our total. This email has gone to you and to 1,355 other people who support us. Just one donation from each of you would vault us into the top 10!

2. Email, talk, blog, SPREAD THE WORD! Personalize this email for your friends and family. Talk to people about the opportunity this presents. If you have a blog or webpage, link to our badge.

We feel strongly that we have some of the strongest grassroots support in the country. Let’s show everyone what we’re made of and make another huge difference for children of ALL abilities to be able to learn, live, and play together!

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PR Newswire via Yahoo! Finance

The Bubel/Aiken Foundation Gives Grants over $500,000 to Programs across the Nation

The Bubel/Aiken Foundation Gives Grants over $500,000 to Programs across the Nation

Tuesday March 11, 11:46 am ET

RALEIGH, N.C., March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- The Bubel/Aiken Foundation, co- founded by entertainer Clay Aiken, announced over $500,000 in grants to support programs nationwide as part of the Foundation's Let's ALL Play program.

This is an exciting development in The Bubel/Aiken Foundation's goal to expand Let's ALL Play. The Foundation will support over 30 recreational programs in 2008. Programs receive a program model and Foundation training in addition to grant funding. Because of the Foundation's support, children across the country will participate in inclusive programs for the first time.

Let's ALL Play brings an inclusive recreational experience to children with disabilities by giving them the same experience as children without. Children come together to participate in activities such as swimming, arts and crafts, community service, and physical fitness. The Foundation is also excited to partner with Best Buddies International, The Dancing Wheels Company and School, and LA's BEST After School Enrichment Program.

The goal of Let's ALL Play is to assist child and youth organizations in moving toward full inclusion. In 2004, the inclusive recreational experience for children with and without disabilities was instituted by the Foundation in collaboration with several summer camp programs run by the YMCA. Through the pilot program phase, the Foundation worked with professionals in education, recreation, and camp administration to develop the Let's ALL Play model. Recreational sites now have a tested, successful, comprehensive program model supported through the Foundation's training module.

The Bubel/Aiken Foundation looks to create communities where ALL children can learn, live, and play together. With over 30 programs in 2008 implementing inclusive programs, the Foundation will take a big step toward that goal. It is because of the continued support of dedicated volunteers and the assistance of new supporters that the Foundation was able to make this possible.

"We're very excited about the opportunities these grants will bring to so many children. The Bubel/Aiken Foundation is proud to support the efforts of organizations across the country as they move toward full inclusion," said Clay Aiken. To find a Let's ALL Play program in your area please visit our website at www.bubelaiken.org .

About The Bubel/Aiken Foundation: The Bubel/Aiken Foundation provides services and financial assistance to promote the full integration of children with disabilities into the life environment of those without. The Foundation strives to create awareness about the diversity of individuals with disabilities and the possibilities that inclusion can bring. To learn more about The Bubel/Aiken Foundation or ways to get involved visit their Web site at www.bubelaiken.org.

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2008 Champions of Change Gala

2008 Champions of Change

October 18, 2008

It is with great pleasure that The Bubel/Aiken Foundation invites you to sponsor and attend our annual

“Champions of Change” Gala.

Featuring a special performance by Clay Aiken and recognition of our Champions of Change honorees. The gala will be a celebration of the inclusion of people of ALL abilities. The evening will promote awareness of the benefits of inclusion and support The Bubel/Aiken Foundation’s programs which give children with disabilities the opportunity to experience life with their typical peers.

“We hope everyone will join us for an enjoyable evening including dinner, silent and live auctions, entertainment - all in support of inclusive opportunities for all children,” said Clay Aiken

Event Details

Champions of Change Gala

October 18, 2008 at 5pm

Join us for a formal evening recognizing our Champions of Change honorees.

Evening Activities:


•VIP Reception for Designated Sponsors

•Silent and Live Auctions

•Entertainment by Clay Aiken

Raleigh Marriott City Center

501 Fayetteville Street

Raleigh, North Carolina 27601


To receive a special rate on your accommodations, please call 1-800-228-9290 and ask for The Bubel/Aiken Foundation special rate.

Platinum Sponsor: $25,000

Secures table for ten. Includes:

•Designation as Corporate Event Host

•Premium seating

•VIP Reception with Clay Aiken

•Individual photos with Clay

•Event Host identification in all promotional and program advertising.

Gold Sponsor: $10,000

Secures table for ten. Includes:

•Reserved seating

•VIP Reception with Clay Aiken

•Group photo with Clay

•Excellent placement in all promotional and program advertising

Silver Sponsor: $5,000

Secures table for five. Includes:

•Reserved seating

•VIP Reception with Clay Aiken

•Group photo with Clay

•Ad in program with prominen placement

•Excellent placement in all promotional and program advertising.

Individual Sponsor: $250

Individual admission

* Space is limited. Early registration is encouraged.

To sponsor a table, email contactus@bubelaiken.org or call 919-882-2152.

Individual tickets will be available for purchase online. Date to be announced.

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From the Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana:

Let's ALL Play Hobart camp

Through the generosity of popular entertainer Clay Aiken, 20 Hobart children, ages 3 to 5, will enjoy a fun-filled day camp through the Let's ALL Play initiative.

This "inclusive recreational model" has camps set up nationwide each year to serve children with special needs. This year, there will be 20 camps, including Hobart.

For the second year, 10 children with disabilities will join 10 children without at the Hobart YMCA for swimming, arts and crafts, story time and to learn that they are not that different.

The Center for Possibilities (Cerebral Palsy Center) and Hobart YMCA took advantage of a grant set up by the Bubel/Aiken Foundation to make this possible.

In a recent booklet, the Hobart camp was said to be a "model worth copying."

From The Times NWI.com

Kids will be kids

By Gregg Doffin

Times Correspondent | Wednesday, June 18, 2008 | No comments posted.

HOBART | Young Haylie Barnes was brief and to the point in summing up her summer camp experience. "I had a lot of fun playing with my friends," she said.

The 5-year-old Portage girl was one of 22 youngsters, ages 3 to 5, attending this year's Preschool Inclusion Summer Camp at the Hobart Family YMCA.

The camp brings together children, with and without special needs, with the goal of developing understanding and acceptance while learning that differences do not have to create barriers.

Children with special needs include those with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism or developmental delays. Staff members from Hobart's Center for Possibilities help run the two-week camp, which included art projects, basketball, story time, swimming, a wheel chair obstacle course and balloon volleyball.

Michelle Higel, the center's community relations coordinator, recalls one instance in which a youngster found a frog in the grass and placed it on the tray of another camper who was in a wheelchair. Before long, the children who gathered around were fascinated with the frog and, she said, "The wheelchair faded into the background. It became a sharing experience together. It helps children develop compassion, kindness, caring and patience."

Paula Mock of Hobart, whose 5-year-old daughter, Sydney, has Down syndrome, agrees. "It gives her the opportunity to play and communicate with other children. It's a worry for parents whether others will notice her special needs."

Mock said that when Sydney attended the first inclusion camp three years ago, "It was the first group interaction we had with kids with and without special needs. It proved there's no reason to be apprehensive about her mainstreaming with other children."

At the end of the camp, youngsters made picture memory/scrapbooks chronicling their daily adventures with the help of volunteers from the national Buben/Aiken Foundation, an organization working to bridge the gap between young people with special needs and the world around them. For the third straight year, the foundation provided a grant to help fund the camp.

One volunteer, Susan Matthes of Chicago, contracted polio as a youngster and gets around with a aid of a motorized scooter. She said she gets as much out of the program as the children do. "It brings people together," she said. "They didn't even see my scooter. It's heart-warming. This whole atmosphere...it always touches your heart."

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From GoUpstate.com of Spartanburg, SC:

Local Aiken fans turn passion into good works

By Alice Lang

Published: Tuesday, July 8, 2008 at 12:20 p.m.

Last Modified: Tuesday, July 8, 2008 at 1:23 p.m.

Members of an Upstate fan club for American Idol finalist Clay Aiken have taken their passion for music and turned it into a mission for helping children who have disabilities.

This group of volunteers from Spartanburg, Greenville and Anderson counties was instrumental in founding the local YMCA Camp of Inclusion, also known as Camp IMPACT, which gives children with disabilities the opportunity to go to summer camp with typical children.

"We had followed Clay Aiken through American Idol. Then we learned about the Bubel/Aiken Foundation. We discovered the Camps of Inclusion through getting to know the foundation. It was Clay's dream to see inclusion spread across the U.S. and we've tapped into his dream," said volunteer Rita Smith.

In February 2006, Smith, an orthodontic assistant, and Sandra Graham, a local realtor, approached Rick Callebs, the CEO of the YMCA of Greater Spartanburg, and asked him about starting a Camp of Inclusion.

"He received it immediately with open arms and said, 'We can do it this summer!' We were stunned," said Smith.

The first year they had 9 children, the second year 16, and this year they have 18 children with disabilities who have participated.

"This year the Bubel/Aiken Foundation provided scholarships for camp fees and they helped us to hire more staff and to organize curriculum. They came and gave us an all day training session for staff," said Smith.

Sandra Graham, known to the children as "Graham cracker," has been thrilled by the success and growth of the camp.

"As an empty-nester, it allows me to be involved with children. They're really special. The typical children are very receptive. We see children with disabilities doing things they didn't know they could do. They bloom at the camp," said Graham.

"We're finding that children with disabilities who might have been withdrawn, over the time they're here, they start opening up," added Smith.

YMCA staff members appreciate the support of these volunteers.

"We have a great base of volunteers who take time off from work to help us out. The Bubel/Aiken Foundation gave us $10,000 this year. It helps us with supplies and provides the program free for children with disabilities," said Cindy Grassi, Association Child Care Director.

Parents see the benefits for their children.

"My two year old son C.J., who has a mild case of autism, doesn't have a lot of chances to interact with kids his own age. New experiences seem to bring out more language for him. I think what they're doing is really great," said Cindy Peck of Moore.

"This is also a way for parents with children with disabilities to have a break and give them some family time," said Grassi.

On the last Thursday of the camp, Jerry Aiken, CEO of the Bubel/Aiken Foundation, and his wife Diane, came to visit the Middle Tyger YMCA. Jerry Aiken is the uncle of Clay Aiken.

"The ultimate goal of these camps and the foundation is to prepare children with disabilities so they can be included in all aspects of life to the greatest degree possible," said Aiken.

Aiken was impressed by the facilities and the activities of the camp. He also was grateful for the support of the volunteers.

"You volunteers are the backbone of the Bubel/Aiken Foundation. Without you, our foundation would not exist," he emphasized.

On October 18th, the Foundation will hold a "Champions of Change Gala" fundraiser in Raleigh, NC to support the 28 Camps of Inclusion across the U.S.

"We will recognize individuals, groups and companies that are making a difference in inclusion," said Aiken.

For more information go to www.bubelaiken.org

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2008 Bubel/Aiken Foundataion Champions of Change Honorees


2008 Bubel/Aiken Foundation Champions of Change Honorees

The Bubel/Aiken Foundation is pleased to announce its 2008 Champion of Change honorees, with awards to be presented at a gala benefit dinner celebrating the fifth anniversary of the foundation. The benefit and awards dinner will be held at 5 PM on Saturday, October 18, 2008, at the Marriott City Center Hotel in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The Foundation selects Champions of Change for their substantive efforts to extend the boundaries of the human experience to children of all abilities, in keeping with the Foundation’s mission of supporting communities with inclusive programs and creating awareness about the possibilities that inclusion can bring.

This year’s honorees are:

CVS Caremark, Corporate Champion of Change

Dan Habib and Betsy McNamara, Champions of Change

Rich Donovan, Champion of Change

CVS Caremark Charitable Trust is being honored as a Corporate Champion of Change for their outstanding efforts to improve the lives of children with disabilities. The five-year, $25 million CVS Caremark All Kids Can program supports nonprofit organizations helping children with disabilities in school, in recreation and in developing skills for successful lives, all within an inclusive environment.

Champions of Change Dan Habib and Betsy McNamara turned their personal goal of educational and social inclusion for their son Samuel into a universal goal of ensuring that all children have the tools to reach their full potential. The result is the film Including Samuel, which tells their son’s story of inclusion, along with the trials and triumphs of four other subjects. Dan is an award-winning photojournalist, director and producer of documentary films. Betsy is a fundraising consultant and an inclusion advocate who is the mother of Samuel, who has cerebral palsy, and Isaiah, who is typically developing.

Rich Donovan is being recognized as a Champion of Change for applying his world-class business acumen to creating means of empowerment for people with disabilities. He was a key to Merrill Lynch’s diversity strategy. As CEO of Integrated Process Solutions, Rich provides large corporations and governments with ready-for-action profit opportunities as a “return on disability”. Rich, who happens to have cerebral palsy, is Board Chairman of Lime Connect, showing real-life solutions - and real financial advantages - to hiring, working with, and providing products and services for people with disabiities. In serving children, he is an advocate of education as essential to the future economic and social success of individuals with disabilities.

The gala benefit celebration will feature a special performance by Clay Aiken, as well as dinner, and silent and live auctions, in support of the Foundation’s programs providing children with disabilities the opportunity to play, learn and grow side-by-side with their typical peers.

We invite you to join us in honoring our outstanding Champions of Change, and in celebrating The Bubel/Aiken Foundation’s five years of success in providing comprehensive educational and social opportunities in an inclusive environment for all children.

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BAF News


MEAF Awards $40,000 Grant to Support Partnership with The Bubel/Aiken Foundation and Johns Hopkins University’s National Center for Summer Learning

RALEIGH, NC – The Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF) has announced $360,000 in new and continuing grants, raising the total investment in the Foundation’s five-year Inclusion Initiative to $3.2 million. The newest inclusion project is a joint venture between The Bubel/Aiken Foundation (TBAF) and the National Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University.

Building on a three-year partnership, The Bubel/Aiken Foundation and the National Center for Summer Learning will create a distinct and powerful new force for change in the field of summer learning for all children, especially those with disabilities. The partners will expand access to high-quality, inclusive summer learning opportunities for young people by developing a summer learning curriculum to help summer camps fully include youth with disabilities.

Research suggests that inclusive summer learning programs can prevent summer learning loss and promote academic achievement for all children and youth, foster positive relationships between children with and without disabilities and adults, and promote improved peer relationships and acceptance of diversity.

“We are very pleased to incorporate this project into our Inclusion Initiative, expanding inclusion outreach to the critical area of summer learning,” said Rayna Aylward, MEAF’s executive director. “The Bubel/Aiken Foundation and the National Center for Summer Learning add valuable experience and focus to the inclusion mix, and their collaboration will enrich the lives of many thousands of youth with and without disabilities.”

About MEAF: Established in 1991, Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation is the corporate foundation of the Mitsubishi Electric companies in the US, which makes grants to support national nonprofit organizations and works to engage company employees in philanthropy and volunteerism in Mitsubishi Electric communities through its matching grants program. The Foundation’s mission is to help young people with disabilities maximize their potential and participation in society. For more information about the foundation visit www.meaf.org.

About TBAF: The Bubel/Aiken Foundation serves to bridge the gap that exists between young people with special needs and the world around them. By providing services and financial assistance, TBAF supports communities and programs in creating awareness and opportunities for full inclusion where barriers break and doors open. It is their goal to create an environment for children where inclusion is embraced. To learn more about The Bubel/Aiken Foundation or ways to get involved visit their website at www.bubelaiken.org.

About the National Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University: The vision of the National Center for Summer Learning is for every young person to experience enriching, memorable summers. Based at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, the Center engages in research, develops policy, and delivers professional development to improve program quality, increase funding for programs for young people living in poverty, and make summer learning a public policy priority. The Center focuses national attention on how high-quality summer learning programs help close the achievement gap, lead to higher graduation rates, and promote healthy development. For more information, visit www.summerlearning.org.

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Charity Navigator Gives National Inclusion Project Four Stars


Charity Navigator gives National Inclusion Project Four Stars!

On behalf of Charity Navigator, I wish to congratulate National Inclusion Project on achieving our coveted 4-star rating for sound fiscal management.

As the nonprofit sector continues to grow at an unprecedented pace, savvy donors are demanding more accountability, transparency and quantifiable results from the charities they choose to support with their hard-earned dollars. In this competitive philanthropic marketplace, Charity Navigator, America's premier charity evaluator, highlights the fine work of efficient charities such as your own, and provides donors with essential information needed to give them greater confidence in the charitable choices they make.

Based on the most recent financial information available, we have calculated a new rating for your organization. We are proud to announce National Inclusion Project has earned our 4-star rating for its ability to efficiently manage and grow its finances. Approximately a quarter of the charities we evaluate have received our highest rating, indicating that National Inclusion Project executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way, and outperforms most other charities in America. This “exceptional” designation from Charity Navigator differentiates National Inclusion Project from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust.

Forbes, Business Week, and Kiplinger's Financial Magazine, among others, have profiled and celebrated our unique method of applying data-driven analysis to the charitable sector. We evaluate ten times more charities than our nearest competitor and currently attract more visitors to our website than all other charity rating groups combined, thus making us the leading charity evaluator in America. Our irrefutable data shows that users of our site gave more than they planned to before viewing our findings, and in fact, it is estimated that last year Charity Navigator influenced over $10 billion in charitable gifts.

We believe our service will enhance your organization's fundraising and public relations efforts. Our favorable review of National Inclusion Project's fiscal health will be visible on our website as of October 1st.

We wish you the best in all of your charitable endeavors.


Ken Berger

President & Chief Executive Officer

The link for their rating page is here.

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The National Inclusion Project Gala Honoring 2009 Champions Raises of $465,000 to Benefit the Inclusion of Children with Disabilities

Supporters of The National Inclusion Project helped to raise over $465,000 at its recent gala honoring 2009 Champions. The inspirational evening was held October 17, 2009 at the Raleigh Marriott City Center in North Carolina. The funds raised will be used to give children with disabilities the opportunity to experience life along side their typical peers.

The gala benefit celebration featured Champions presentations and addresses by Project co-founders Diane Bubel and Clay Aiken. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in both a silent and a live auction in support of the Project’s programs. The Project received funding support from the Million Dollar Round Table and Christies Cookies and the night concluded with a special performance by Clay Aiken.

The National Inclusion Project’s Champions are selected for their substantive efforts to give children with disabilities the opportunity to play, learn and grow side-by-side with their typical peers.

This year’s honorees were:

Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA, Inc., Corporate Champion: Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA, Inc. continually demonstrates its outstanding commitment to help young people with disabilities to maximize their potential and participation in society. The Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation has had a sizeable impact since it was established in 1991: more than $9 million invested, affecting the lives of many thousands of young people with disabilities, their families, friends and communities. Added to that total are thousands of employee volunteer hours and the transformation of individuals, one life at a time.

Dr. Gregory P. Byrne, Patrick Henry Hughes, and Patrick John Hughes: Patrick Henry Hughes was born in 1988 with significant disabilities. His father, Patrick John Hughes, introduced him to the piano at the age of nine months. Patrick has studied piano in the years since and later began the study of trumpet. At the suggestion of Louisville's marching band director, Dr. Greg Byrne, Patrick Henry joined the marching band, playing trumpet while his father pushed him in his wheelchair through the marching routines, which attracted increasing crowd and media attention throughout the fall football season. The Hughes family has used this platform to speak on the importance of recognizing the abilities of ALL and the importance of inclusion for a person’s social, mental and physical well-being.

The Sparkle Effect: Sarah Cronk and Sarah Herr, two varsity cheerleaders from Pleasant Valley High School are being honored as Champions for founding The Sparkle Effect - a nonprofit organization that encourages high school students across the United States to include children with special needs on cheerleading squads. By providing guidance, peer mentoring, and online tools to enable high school students to fully integrate cheerleading squads, they have changed life experiences for teenagers across the country and the awareness they have created will continue to impact generations to come.

Diane Bubel and Clay Aiken also awarded the first Bubel Aiken Founder’s Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service to Marti Ford for her efforts to place the National Inclusion Project’s children’s book, Our Friend Mikayla, in hundreds of schools and libraries in the Las Vegas area. It was through grassroots volunteer efforts that the National Inclusion Project was started and has been able to make huge strides for inclusion nationwide. Marti Ford is just one example of many working together to continue to fulfill the Project’s mission of supporting communities with inclusive programs and creating awareness about the possibilities that inclusion can bring.

About Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation: Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF) was established in 1991 by the Mitsubishi Electric Corporation and its US subsidiaries, with the mission of helping young people with disabilities maximize their potential and participation in society. Based in the Washington DC area, MEAF has invested more than $3.2 million since 2003 in its Inclusion Initiative to help organizations like Boys & Girls Clubs, Girl Scouts, and the YMCAs serve more youth with disabilities. www.meaf.org

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National Inclusion Project Announces over $700,000 of Support for "Let's All Play"

National Inclusion Project Announces over $700,000 of Support for 'Let's ALL Play'



Raleigh, N.C. – The National Inclusion Project (NIP), co-founded by entertainer Clay Aiken, announces over $700,000 of support to programs nationwide as part of its Let's ALL Play initiative.

In just three years, the Project has invested over $1.7 million to expand Let's ALL Play across the country. Let's ALL Play brings an inclusive recreational experience to children with disabilities by giving them the same experience as children without disabilities. Children with disabilities and their peers without disabilities come together to participate in recreational activities such as swimming, arts and crafts, community service, physical fitness and more. The Project will support over 45 recreational programs in 23 states in 2010.

In 2004, the Project instituted the inclusive recreational experience for children with and without disabilities. Since its inception, the Project has impacted over 20,000 children nationwide. "My son does not have Down syndrome, wear hearing aids, or have difficulty with his speech," said the mother of a camper. "He is simply a camper."

In 2008, the NIP asked the Center for Social Development and Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston to assess the implementation of Let's ALL Play. Overwhelming evidence shows that campers with disabilities see improvement in self-esteem, social skills, relationships with campers without disabilities, general engagement in camp activities and sport/motor skills.

The NIP looks to create communities where all children can learn, live and play together.

"Because of the continued support of our volunteers and supporters, the National Inclusion Project gives children the opportunity to experience inclusion for the first time," said Aiken. "The children's experience will impact generations to come as they increase awareness of the importance of inclusion."

About the National Inclusion Project

The National Inclusion Project (NIP), formerly The Bubel/Aiken Foundation, provides services and financial assistance to promote the full integration of children with disabilities into the life environment of those without. The Project strives to create awareness about the diversity of individuals with disabilities and the possibilities that inclusion can bring. To learn more about the NIP or ways to get involved, visit their Web site at http://www.inclusionproject.org.

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