By Tim Saunders on
Former American Idol contestant and star of Broadway’s Spamalot Clay Aiken has teamed up with an internet social networking site to talk about his charity work and to host an indepth interview featuring questions directly from readers and fans.
www.gather.com has posted a video featuring the singer talking about his experience with his charity, the Bubel/Aiken Foundation, as well as his work with UNICEF. The site will then interview the star next week, and is calling for questions from the public.
Aiken established the Bubel/Aiken Foundation in 2003. The initiative grew out of a relationship between Clay Aiken and 13-year-old Mike Bubel, who had been diagnosed with autism. Aiken met the Bubel family while pursuing a career in special education, prior to competing on American Idol. The bond between the singer and the Bubel family grew strong as they shared a vision of a world where children like Mike could be fully immersed in society. Both Aiken and Mike’s mother, 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.
Aiken has also been a UNICEF Ambassador since 2004. In 2005, he toured tsunami-stricken Banda Aceh to highlight the need to restore education to young survivors. This was followed by a trip to Uganda to raise awareness of “Night Commuters” – children who flee the villages and towns every night to sleep in shelters in order to avoid kidnapping by the Lord’s Resistance Army. In 2007 he visited children in Mexico.
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