Jump to content

TBAF -- Now the National Inclusion Project

Recommended Posts

The National Inclusion Project

An Open Letter from Co-Founders Clay Aiken and Diane Bubel


An open letter from co-founders Clay Aiken and Diane Bubel:

The Bubel/Aiken Foundation grew out of the relationship between the two of us and Diane’s son, Mike, a 13 year old with autism. The bond between us grew strong as we shared a vision of a world where children like Mike could be fully immersed in society. We had both witnessed children with disabilities repeatedly turned away from activities opened to typical children. We met while Clay was pursuing a degree in special education at UNC-Charlotte. As part of that pursuit, Clay completed an independent study project where he created a foundation that focused on providing the support system for recreational and educational programs around the country to open doors to children with disabilities that had thus far remained closed. We realized that an organized effort could encourage and facilitate community inclusion and empowerment of individuals with disabilities. This shared goal grew into reality on July 28, 2003 when we officially announced the creation of The Bubel/Aiken Foundation.

In the six years since, the Foundation has established itself as a leading voice for inclusion working with a “Who’s Who” list of youth organizations – 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. The Foundation has formed partnerships with 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.

In 2008, both of the Foundation’s cutting edge inclusion models – Let’s ALL Play and the K-12 Inclusive Service Learning Program – were closely evaluated with overwhelmingly positive results. Children with and without disabilities in these programs saw growth in motor skills, social skills, and self-esteem, and the impact of the friendships made will last long into the future.

In six years, the Foundation has worked with hundreds of programs, trained numerous staff members and leaders, and provided inclusive opportunities for over 20,000 children. This far-reaching impact would not have been possible without the dedicated support of countless volunteers and supporters. With your help in raising awareness and funds through projects like Wrapping for Inclusion and Change for Change as well as local fundraising efforts like cookbooks, gatherings, and online donation drives, the Foundation has dedicated the vast majority of every dollar into making an impact with our programs. As we realized the impact the Foundation has already made, it became apparent that even bigger accomplishments could be on the horizon. To that end, we along with the rest of the Board decided that a new name for the Foundation would establish long-term credibility and stability. We sought a name that would signify the Foundation’s position as a national leader on inclusion as well as recognize the Foundation’s start and the efforts of its faithful supporters. After much thought and deliberation, we are proud to introduce the organization we co-founded as the National Inclusion Project.

The National Inclusion Project is poised to continue to make an impact with thousands of children nationwide as well as raise the national consciousness about the need for and benefits of inclusion. We are excited beyond measure to see Clay’s original “project” become one that so many people have invested time, energy, and dollars in to see doors opened for children who may have never gotten the opportunity to participate in life the way their peers do. The National Inclusion Project is moving forward hand-in-hand with supporters, families, program providers, and other advocates to see the vision of full inclusion nationwide become a reality. Please join us in our push to make a difference in communities all over the country.


The National Inclusion Project Announces Champions Gala Honorees


The National Inclusion Project Announces Champions Gala Honorees

The National Inclusion Project is pleased to announce its 2009 Champions honorees, with awards to be presented at its annual Champions Gala Benefit Celebration. The benefit and awards dinner will be held at 5 PM on Saturday, October 17, 2009, at the Marriott City Center Hotel in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Champions are selected by the National Inclusion Project for their substantive efforts to give children with disabilities the opportunity to experience life alongside their peers, in keeping with the Project’s mission of supporting communities with inclusive programs and creating awareness about the possibilities that inclusion can bring.

This year’s honorees are:

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

When Patrick Henry Hughes was born in 1988, medical staff noticed physical anomalies which were diagnosed as bilateral anophthalmia with ptergyium syndrome and congenital bilateral hip dysplasia. 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. This visible commitment attracted increasing crowd and media attention throughout the fall football season, and the father/son pair were featured in a variety of television and newspaper coverage. 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.

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

As a result of inclusion just this summer, a 9 year-old child said this was the first time he did not feel like an “alien,” for the first time a mom saw her child included, and a father cried when he learned his 5-year old child had spoken his first word. We invite you to join us in honoring our outstanding Champions, and in celebrating the National Inclusion Project’s impact on improving lives across the country. Individual tickets go on sale August 11 from the Champions Gala page. The deadline to purchase Platinum, Gold, and Silver VIP Tickets is August 10!

About National Inclusion Project: The National Inclusion Project, formerly 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, the Project 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 National Inclusion Project or ways to get involved visit their website at www.inclusionproject.org.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...