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The Clay Aiken Interview July/Aug 2004

Clay Aiken Interview"The Heart and Soul of a Man"
The Clay Aiken Interview

Clayton Aiken, a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a Bachelorís degree in Special Education has not wasted much time since graduating college. Of course, as an American Idol runner-up, a triple platinum recording artist with countless sold-out concert dates and a dedicated and adoring fan base stretching across the known world, Clay (as he is popularly known) is like no other graduate in recent history. Clay has been able to utilize his new-found fame to exercise his
passion as an educator through the work of the Bubel/Aiken Foundation.

Editor-in-Chief Gary Barg sat down with Clay in his dressing room after the recent Rosalynn Carter Institute Gala Celebration of Caregivers in Atlanta, Georgia to talk with Clay about his work as a caregiving advocate for the children.

Gary Barg: How did you decide to create the Bubel/Aiken Foundation?

Clay Aiken: It came about through my experience as a caregiver. I worked as a CAP worker (Community Alternatives Program for persons with mental retardation/developmental disabilities) with a child, Michael Bubel, in Charlotte, NC, and that childís mother, Diane Bubel, was the one who convinced me to audition for American Idol. More so, I worked at the YMCA for eight years, running summer camps and working with different youth programs. The YMCA I was working for at the time had a hard time accepting children with disabilities; they didnít have the training for it, they didnít have the staff ratio, they just werenít equipped to handle it. My goal was to try and figure out a way to eliminate all those problems. I wanted to get around the lack of training and ratio problems and try and figure a way to help out. So when I got a little more successful and found out that I had more of a platform to speak, it made more sense for me to try and bring more attention to that cause. The Bubel family was very supportive of me taking their child out into the public, because children with disabilities are known as ďthat different population,Ē instead of being involved in everyone elseís life experiences. Thatís what the goal of the foundation is and how it began.

GB: What are some of the things that the foundation has done so far?


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