Though he lost to Ruben Studdard on American Idol, Clay Aiken has proven he's a winner by becoming a double platinum singing sensation. He's also been in the spotlight for founding The Bubel/Aiken Foundation, an organization that helps kids with special needs.
Bubel/Aiken Foundation - A College Dream
Long before he became a musical superstar, Clay Aiken's dream was to help people living with developmental disabilities. Through his volunteer work with Autism Services, he met an autistic boy named Mike Bubel, and was inspired by how his family treated him like he was a normal child. While helping Mike, Clay also studied special education at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, but American Idol interfered with his courses. So in order to graduate, he had to complete an assignment to create an organization that would help children with disabilities. Clay graduated from university, became an overnight star and put his fame and fortune to good use by turning his school project into reality.
Bubel/Aiken Foundation - Life Without Boundaries
People who live with developmental disabilities are surrounded by stereotypical barriers, so the Bubel/Aiken Foundation works to break down those barriers. With the motto, "Opening Doors, Opening Minds," the foundation hopes to raise awareness about kids with special needs by including them in all aspects of life, from recreational activities to educational opportunities.
Bubel/Aiken Foundation - Get Involved
The Bubel/Aiken Foundation stresses that everyone can make a difference, no matter how young you are. Kids from across the United States are showing their support by sending their allowances to help the non-profit organization, while others have started fundraising projects in their schools. To find out how you can help open doors and minds, head to the official Bubel/Aiken Foundation website.