Fairfield, NC (PRWEB) February 2, 2006
Three years ago on January 28, 2003, Clay Aiken stepped into our lives saying the words, "I’m the next American Idol." He didn’t win the competition, but instead, he became something so much more important to thousands of fans and followers of all ages around the globe.
This week marks not only the 3rd year celebration of the public awareness and music career of this amazing man, known to his fans, the ClayMates, as "OMC" (Our Man Clay), but also as a celebration of a long line of friendships and acquaintances made by thousands who attend Clay Aiken concerts and concert pre-parties, or connect through his Official Fan Club (OFC), popular online message boards, and through the numerous charities and fundraisers that have been born from his own charitable efforts.
Celebrate The Man
Clay, a Raleigh, North Carolina native, intended to pursue a career in special education and was in the process of completing his degree at UNC-Charlotte when he was encouraged to try out for American Idol.
Although his current entertainment career keeps him busy, the "teacher" in Clay Aiken continues to shine during his frequent visits to schools; while tutoring Gregory, a young member of the 2005 Joyful Noise Tour cast; and when he speaks up for children around the globe as a UNICEF Ambassador:
States Aiken, "Education is essential to a child's development. I hope that as an Ambassador I can encourage people to join UNICEF's mission to make education a reality for children throughout the world."
And then there's this other side of Clay Aiken as reflected in this quote from "Elle" Magazine:
"Clay Aiken smells like fresh laundry- it's the first thing you notice about him- that he's well-scrubbed, radiant in his cleanliness, a walking, freckled dryer sheet. The second thing you notice are his lips, which are plump and ripe and shell pink. Much has been made about his hair, the whole flat-ironed, geek-hipster, red nest of it all, but little, too little has been made of his lips, perhaps because most of the world has only ever seen them contorted and trembling in song. How did a jug-eared, baby faced special ed teacher become the fantasy fodder of sophisticated women everywhere?"
Celebrate The Music
(1) Clay's debut single, "This Is the Night," made history by going number one on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. It sold more than 392,000 copies during its first week, beating Elton John's record for "Candle in the Wind 1997."
(2) In October 2003, Clay issued his studio full-length, "The Measure of a Man," which sold 613,000 copies and went to number one on Billboard's Top 200 during its first week of release.
(3) His first holiday effort "Merry Christmas With Love" followed in November 2004. The album debuted at number one on Billboard's Top Holiday Albums chart, giving "Merry Christmas With Love" the biggest debut week sales figures for a Christmas album in SoundScan history.
Celebrate The Charity In Us All
For many, it all started with the inception of The Bubel/Aiken Foundation (TBAF). TBAF grew out of the relationship between Clay Aiken and Diane Bubel and Diane’s, then 13-year-old son, Mike, who had been diagnosed with autism. Both Clay and Diane had witnessed children with disabilities repeatedly turned away from activities opened to typical children. They knew with the right support system doors could be opened to these individuals that had thus far remained closed. 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 Clay officially announced the creation of TBAF. "My ultimate goal," says Clay, "is for this foundation to really make an impact. I hope this foundation has a much longer shelf life than I do."
In 2004, Clay Aiken was appointed U.S. Fund for UNICEF Ambassador. He is particularly committed to supporting UNICEF's education programs, and has traveled to conflict-affected Northern Uganda and Tsunami-ravaged Indonesia.
There is no telling just how many fundraising and charitable activities have spawned from Clay Aiken fans and followers to either raise money for TBAF, raise money for UNICEF, or raise support for their own charitable programs that took hold when they became motivated by the spiritually-driven Clay Aiken. Many individual personal giving agendas got an injection of adrenalin when first taking a close look at the mission, structure and success of TBAF. "I was so impressed by what The Bubel/Aiken Foundation represented", stated one charity founder, "that I started mingling with others at Clay Aiken concerts last summer, sharing experiences of giving and receiving."
And for this we celebrate The Man.
article written by
Steffanie Lynch, Founder,
CheckOnMe.org, TractorForCharity.org & Pansies For Pakistan
Credits & References:
The Bubel/Aiken Foundation (http://www.thebubelaikenfoundation.org)
Allison Glock in "Elle" Magazine
MacKenzie Wilson, "All Music Guide"
U.S. Fund for UNICEF (http://www.unicefusa.org/clayaiken)