A A few hours ago, we found out why Clay was not involved on Idol Gives Back.
He had a more pressing commitment.
One Wednesday evening, April 25th, 2007, Clay Aiken was in New York City, participating in and receiving an award from the National Center for Learning Disabilities:
The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) works to ensure that the nation's 15 million children, adolescents and adults with learning disabilities have every opportunity to succeed in school, work and life.
NCLD provides essential information to parents, professionals and individuals with learning disabilities, promotes research and programs to foster effective learning and advocates for policies to protect and strengthen educational rights and opportunities.
Since its beginning, NCLD has been led by passionate and devoted parents committed to creating better outcomes for children, adolescents and adults with learning disabilities.
Founded in 1977 by Pete and Carrie Rozelle as the Foundation for Children with Learning Disabilities, the organization provided leadership, public awareness and grants to support research and innovative practices in learning disabilities.
In 1989 the organization changed its name to the National Center for Learning Disabilities and expanded its mission and scope of work. Anne Ford assumed the role of Chairman of the Board at the time and led the organization for 12 years.
In 2001, John G. Gantz, Jr., past president of Argonaut Insurance Company, succeeded Mrs. Ford. In 2004 the leadership of NCLD was passed to Fred Poses, Chairman and CEO of American Standard Companies.
Throughout its history, NCLD has been guided by a passionate commitment to promoting the success and dignity of individuals affected by learning disabilities, as defined in our Credo:
Let no children be demeaned,
or have their wonder diminished,
because of our ignorance or inactivity;
Let no adults be deprived of discovery,
because we lack the resources to
discover their learning needs;
Let neither children nor adults – ever –
doubt themselves or their minds because
we are unsure of our commitment.
On Wednesday night, they celebrated their 30th Anniversary
NCLD celebrated its 30th anniversary at its annual benefit dinner, "Voices of our Children, Voices of our Future," Wednesday, April 25, 2007 at New York City's Marriott Marquis.
The dinner honored three outstanding individuals who have championed the needs of children with learning disabilities and have given them a strong public voice. You can read more complete biographies by clicking on the names below.
• Arthur Ryan, Chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc., received the Spirit of Achievement Award.
• Clay Aiken, pop music star and special education activist, received the Children's Advocacy Award.
• Donald D. Deshler, Ph.D., professor in the School of Education and director of the Center for Research on Learning at the University of Kansas, received the Distinguished Education Achievement Award.
NCLD has raised $1.6 million annually in the past three years; its goal for 2007 is $2 million, which will go towards the organization's programs and services for children, adolescents and adults. The benefit dinner is the largest single national fundraising event in support of the 15 million individuals nationwide with learning disabilities. It also showcases the Anne Ford Scholarship, given to a high school senior with a diagnosed learning disability who plans to go on to a four-year college. This year's Anne Ford Scholarship winner is Ryan Makinson of Greensboro, N.C..
Clay Aiken was awarded the Children's Advocacy Award
Multi-platinum recording artist Clay Aiken's musical success has enabled him to fulfill his lifelong wish to support educational and children's causes. While the accolades that followed his stunningly close second-place finish on the second season of American Idol have validated him in ways that he never could have dreamed of when he was a teacher working with autistic children back in his home state of North Carolina, it is the charitable work that his musical career has enabled him to do that means more to him than anything else these days.
The singer created the Bubel/Aiken Foundation in 2003, an organization that promotes and funds educational and recreational programs for children with special needs. He also serves as a United States Fund for UNICEF National Ambassador, helping ensure that children everywhere can receive a primary education. In 2006 Mr. Aiken was appointed to the Presidential Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.
Mr. Aiken holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in special education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
While American Idol decided to raise money for the world's children in a very loud and self-promoting way while pimping itself for ratings, Clay just quietly went about his business, working on behalf of children the world over and accepting an award for his humanitarian efforts for the past four years.
Thank you, Ambassador Aiken.
Photos are from one of the Bubel/Aiken Foundation's very first fundraisers in Raleigh, NC, around December, 2003.
Related Tags: Clay Aiken, Idol Gives Back, National Center for Learning Disabilities, The Bubel/Aiken Foundation, UNICEF