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Stealing from Beagle3 at the CH, because I don't have time to do a proper quote (1. I'm sure she doesn't mind; and 2. gotta go vote!):

Singer and former “American Idol” star Clay Aiken visited the Museum of Contemporary Art on Sunday, taking time to check out the “Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec: Bivouac” design exhibition.




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Posted on Facebook about a half hour ago, this link to a National Inclusion Project Gala recap summary on the Project's webpage:

2012 Championship Gala -- The Attendee Perspective

2012 Champions Gala - The Attendee Perspective


The National Inclusion Project’s 9
Annual Champions Gala, found us in the nation’s capitol, Washington, DC. With so many amazing and historic sites to see, attendees arrived early to take in all the museums, memorials and some even got a “lucky” tour of the White House gardens and grounds. A tour not to be missed!

“From the time we arrived at the JW Marriott until we checked out of the hotel, everything went beautifully. The staff at the hotel was great and helpful with any question we had.”

Saturday, October 20
, Gala day, began with an opportunity to get a taste of the “Let’s All Play” training given by the Project’s Director of Programs, Aron Hall. The 2-hour session allowed those in attendance to experience some of the training that counselors and partners receive from the Project when they incorporate Let’s All Play into their recreational programs. The attendees had a great opportunity to get a better understanding of the signature program their donations and the donations of others go to support. As many said “it was both a fun and a learning experience.” Nancy and Bridget Brown, Gala Honorees, were among those that attended.

A bit more sightseeing filled the early afternoon before the Platinum and Gold ticket attendees made their way to the Gala’s VIP Reception at the JW Marriott hotel. After being welcomed to the reception by the Project’s Executive Director Jerry Aiken, everyone enjoyed beverages and hors d’oeuvres. In addition, all of the attendees got the opportunity to have their photo taken with Project Co-Founders, Clay Aiken and Diane Bubel. Soon after the reception, everyone made their way next door to the beautiful and historic National Theater.

“It was great to see familiar faces dotted around in the lobby of the Marriott waiting to get into the theater. After 9 years of following Clay at concerts and Galas, plus communicating via message boards, many people have gotten to know and care for one another. With that comes tons of enthusiasm, support, and interest from not only those at the Galas -- but from so many fans who are not able to attend.”

The Gala opened with a performance by one of the event’s special guests, Ruben Studdard. Ruben then introduced the man he said “he loved to watch when he was in middle school,” the evening’s emcee, Arsenio Hall. Arsenio opened by saying to Ruben that they had something in common - Clay let them win on their shows. This brought laughter from the entire crowd.


Once Arsenio had everyone loosened up, he introduced Jerry Aiken, the Project’s Executive Director, to the stage. Jerry gave a wonderful overview of the Project’s year and accomplishments which included exceeding over 200 programs providing inclusive experiences for 25,000 children annually.

National Inclusion Project board member Dr. Zak Fathi introduced us to the first honoree Loretta Claiborne. Loretta was born partially blind and intellectually challenged and was unable to walk or
talk until the age of 4, but soon she began to run and run and run. Loretta never let anything stop her. Loretta is an amazing woman who has run a number of marathons and is a proud multi-medal winning Special Olympics athlete. Loretta has fought for the inclusion of those with intellectual disabilities. She was moved to tears when she talked about how much she wished that the National Inclusion Project had been there when she was growing up. Her acceptance speech was an inspiration that brought a well-deserved standing ovation.

The second honoree was introduced by Project board member Dr. Gary Sipserstein. He welcomed to the stage honoree Steve Eidelman. Steve has led change in a variety of ways for all those with intellectual and other developmental disabilities all over the country. As the former head of the Arc of the United States, the nation’s largest organization working with and for people with disabilities, he worked on a number of issues to support them and their families. Partnering with other disability organizations they developed the National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities. Their goal is to train the next generation of inclusive organization leaders.


The Founders Award winners were presented by Co-Founders Clay Aiken and Diane Bubel. They recognized Shelley Anderson for her great volunteer efforts in support of the Project through the Major Gift Campaign. Also recognized was Priscilla Brame for her commitment and volunteer hours spent on the Board of the Project helping to lay the building blocks for the future of the organization. Both winners were surprised and deeply moved by the public recognition.


The final honorees were introduced by special guest Debbie Gibson. Bridget and Nancy Brown are in a word - amazing. Bridget was born with Down Syndrome but together with her mother Nancy they have taken a journey that has led to a full and inclusive life. Bridget was the first person with Downs Syndrome to be included in her Illinois school district. They have met every challenge and broken through all barriers. Bridget had a very successful school experience and together they are sharing their journey so that others can have the same success. Bridget’s acceptance speech was spirited, joyful and inspiring to all in the Theater.

“All three Gala winners were amazing. Each one filled your soul with love, pride and determination to work just a bit harder for inclusion. “


“Every year I think the honorees can’t be topped but then I’m surprised to see they do each year. They were fantastic and so moving to hear their stories.”

“I had the chance to meet Bridget and her father in front of the theater in the morning. She was looking at the posters at the theater and excited to see her name in print. I introduced myself and told her that I was looking forward to hearing her speak and excited to meet her. Both Bridget and her Dad were cordial and, hopefully, pleased that they were recognized. We did see her again at the VIP reception when she came up and introduced Nancy to me. What a lovely family.”

The Champions presentation was followed by the Live Auction. Dee Snider via video introduced the auction and everyone that it was a great touch. The crowd loved that he thought enough about the Project to be a part of the show even though he couldn’t attend in person. He introduced the evening’s two “auctioneers” Clay Aiken and Arsenio Hall.

“Dee’s video showing his support was a surprise and so neat!”


The live auction was a great success. Two dinners with Clay went for $22,000 each and a special experience with Clay at Arsenio’s new upcoming talk show went for another $17,000. The highlight however was the “Send a Kid to Camp” Auction. To send a single kid to camp costs $250. Starting with 20 and going down to 1; those in the Theater generously raised their bid number to send their chosen number of kids to camp. Overall, the auction raised over $140,000 to make sure no child sits on the sidelines!

The entertainment part of the evening continued with solos and duets from Ruben Studdard, Debbie Gibson and Clay Aiken accompanied by a great band led by Ben Cohn. With Clay’s special performance of “The Real Me,” the 2012 Champions Gala came to a close.

“It was a beautiful venue. The acoustics in the theater were excellent and from all accounts, everyone could hear easily. The large screens that were placed above the stage made the performers seem so close. Everyone had a great view. “

“There seemed to be a lot of love on the stage. All of the performers truly love and respect each other and were very respectful and appropriate.”


“We must mention Ms. Leisey, the interpreter. She is amazing. Her ability in signing the program is both skilled and artistic. Sometimes I sit and watch her as she works. She puts such meaning into the phrases. I hope she knows how much she is appreciated.”

“Every time I attend a Champions Gala, I return home with a renewed passion to do whatever I can to support The National Inclusion Project. The program is always uplifting and full of hope. “

“I thoroughly enjoyed the event this year although different than in the past, it was well done, heart-warming, interesting, and exciting. You could tell ‘All Is Well’ by the looks and smiles on the many folks leaving the theater on Saturday night, later in the Marriott lobby areas, and even in the elevators.”

“It was an outstanding weekend filled with many special moments where all in attendance were reminded that Inclusion means ALL participate and ALL belong! We look forward to 2013 and the 10
Annual Champions Gala.”


Thanks to everyone that made this event possible. It was wonderful to meet so many of you and feel so welcomed into the Inclusion Project
Family. THANK YOU for making my first Champions Gala so amazing and enjoyable. I can’t wait for 2013!
– Tonya, National Inclusion Project


This overview was put together with the help of multiple recaps from Gala attendees. Thank you to everyone that contributed!**

$140,000! WOW!

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Couchie, I only watched Diane a little bit, but she was talking very slowly, moving very slowly. My first thought was what medication was she on? I didn't like watching her seeming struggle, cause of that soft spot, so I switched to MSNBC for the rest of the night. Nothing I've seen in explanation yet, but there was definitely something going on.

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I watched clips on youtube and she did seem a bit off. I think it'll be one of those things we won't get a direct answer about.

Today is a sad day for me. With the uncertainty of when the art gallery I've been working at will have another show, and the main fact I don't have reliable transportation to get me there anymore when they did, I had to tell them I couldn't continue to work there. :( The guys who run it are awesome people, and I really loved it there, but I need something more stable. When I took the job I thought it would be more constant but it's not. Now I can move on and hope to find a job here in town and hopefully save up some much needed money.

I really will miss Detroit and the people and the gallery... I will definitely return to visit once they have more regular shows.

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Bringing this over from the CH, it was posted a few days ago:


This “fun to buy” fundraiser is back for a second year to benefit The National Inclusion Project and its mission of inclusion!!

Give the gift of inclusion this year and throughout the year by participating in this easy and fun fundraiser!! You can make a difference in so many children’s lives.


· -Fundraiser starts Monday November 5, 2012.

· -If ordering for the holidays, orders must be received and paid to the company by early December. Definite deadline dates will be forthcoming. Our fundraiser ends Dec 14th. I would place order by Dec 5th to assure you receive for the holidays.

· -Profitable, easy, quick, and fun to do!!

· -Great gift basket items!!

Great Food Basket items for donating!!

· -Stocking stuffers!!

· -Fun pastas for animal lovers, sports lovers, collegiate teams, holiday themes and so many more!!

· -Teacher Gifts!!

· -Great Corporate Gifts!!

· -Great gift ideas for the senior citizens to give, especially those who cannot get out to shop.

· -Product is made in the USA

· -Shelf Life is 24 months

· -Online Orders yield 40% of item sales to the National Inclusion Project.

- -Sales Goal- $6000.00 (We had over $5000.00 in sales in 2011 and are raising our goal by $1000.00 in 2012. )

How To Order Online :

Webpage is now set up and ready to go for your online orders on Nov 05, 2012.


If you would like a brochure to sell to family, friends and coworkers, contact me at cindyskuce@cox.net. I will mail one out to you Wednesday Nov 7th. (entire order is shipped to you for distribution)

November 05 Update:

Webpage is ready for ordering!! Go to:


And place your orders. I placed my order and it works fine. You will see a small shopping cart icon on the top right corner when ordering which will bring you to your "cart" page.

If you already requested a brochure- I am mailing them Wednesday.

Lets surpass last years sales!!! I know we can do it.

Let me know if you have any problem placing your order. Email cindyskuce@cox.net



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ldyj - CV is definitely doing cellcerts. They're still looking for volunteers.

So according to a local radio station, Clay will be a guest DJ here! I suppose it'll be the day he has his concert. :)

Glad to hear at least one board is doing a cellcert. Suppose I should make sure I can connect with them here pretty soon!

Woohoo on the guest DJ thing. That should be loads of fun. Will you be able to cap it?

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CV is doing cellcerts..they are looking for people to do them at the various concerts right now; if interested, contact Caperkeeper

12 Days until the JNT12! Two Weeks! :yahoo:

Happy Birthday to all celebrating!

Everyone have a great day!


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Well the Clay lunch in Toronto was pretty small yesterday, but it was good to see people again. Today we are having unseasonably warm temps so I took advantage and cleaned up the yard, pulled the rest of the beets & leeks, and bagged up some leaves. I am sure we'll have snow before long.

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Amid the ongoing relief efforts associated with Hurricane Sandy, stories emerge of victims and volunteers that tug at the heartstrings. One is about a teenager on Staten Island who carefully collected all the photographs found in her neighborhood. She found them under bushes, in trees, in mud. Friends joined her effort. The photos were carefully cleaned, then posted on peg boards in front of her garage. She posted signs telling people where to review the pictures and many were returned to their owners. It was a simple act of kindness that helped people reconnect with their memories and know that others understood and cared.

Likewise, those of us at The Way We Make A Difference realize Clay's concert schedule includes the Atlantic City, Staten Island and Stamford, areas heavily impacted by the storm. We would like to help make a difference in our small way and try to bring just a few hours of joy to those who are in so much distress, as well as those who have helped them.

If you agree, we will accept donations that are specifically earmarked for these concerts. This does not exclude other concerts -- we are simply offering the opportunity to those of you who would like to do something specific for the areas hardest hit by the storm.

TWWMAD welcomes all donations!

If you would like to make a monetary contribution or if you have an extra ticket or two to donate, we would be most grateful to have them! Please remember, no donation is too small. And if you would like your donations earmarked for the concerts in the areas affected by Hurricane Sandy, please just let us know when donating.

For anyone not familiar with our project, TWWMAD promotes inclusion by offering a chance for people with and without disabilities to share in the excitement of seeing Clay in concert.

The address to use for Paypal donations is twwmad.org@gmail.com

If you have tickets to donate please contact us at tixtwwmad.org@gmail.com

Thanks in advance for helping us to make a difference, one concert ticket at a time!

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For those interested in going to Florida concert. Someone at CV just reduced the price of two tickets that sound really good. I will be in Atlanta at that time or I would probably buy these:

West Palm Beach

Grand Tier Center

Row A, seats 105 and 106

$106 for the pair

These are hard tickets in hand, so I can mail them right away.

Re-posting. I'll sell the pair for $50.00. Let me know if you're interested.

I brought this post over. I am not the person selling the tickets. It is in the CV ticket thread.


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