Thursday, October 19, 2006

Good Deeds Unacknowledged

Last month Clay Aiken was one among twenty new officers sworn in to serve a two-year term in the U.S. President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. The committee acts in an advisory capacity to the U.S. President and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services on matters relating to programs and services for persons with intellectual disabilities.

It's unfortunate not more of the good works done by Clay and other celebrities is reported in the mainstream media, not only media darlings like Angelina Jolie, but the countless others who work to support causes that could use some positive press to bring awareness. Our culture seems to be very tabloid-centered, negative, and often times cruel. Why are not the good things done by celebrities worth a mention? Why do we only hear about punches thrown at paparazzi, drunken outings, car wrecks, break-ups, hook-ups, one-night stands etc? Why don't we ever hear about what might make a difference? Why is it that we only hear about Clay's "crazy" blue-haired fans when with a little research the media could report on how Clay Aiken fans support the BAF, Beads For Life, UNICEF because Clay Aiken brought awareness to the cause? Why not report something positive? I guess it is just too much fun to ridicule what you don't understand. Only one show that Clay recently guested on mentioned the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, and that was Jimmy Kimmel Live. It was a quick mention, but good for Jimmy. It's a honor worth mentioning. I know Clay will do a good job for a cause that is so close to his heart.

Clay Aiken's Bio posted on the committee's website is as follows:

Clay Aiken became an international sensation in the wake of his appearance on the hit television show, ‘American Idol.’ In spite of his growing stardom, Aiken has remained steadfast in his desire to remain true to the simple values he learned as a child in Raleigh, North Carolina. “I still live in the town where I grew up,” he says. “I like surrounding myself with people I know and love.” It is this authenticity that his millions of fans have responded to, an almost supernatural earnestness that feels unconventional in the cynical world of today. 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, it is the charitable work that his musical career has enabled him to do that means more to him than anything else these days. Mr. Aiken created the Bubel/Aiken Foundation in 2003, an organization that promotes and funds educational and recreational programs for children with special needs. “I worked with Mike Bubel, who has autism, when I was going to school at UNCC,” says Mr. Aiken. “His mother was very instrumental in encouraging me to get into this business.” The Foundation remains close to the singer’s heart at all times. “My music career has allowed me to do the same thing I was doing before—work with kids with disabilities,” he says. “It has given me a big stage to talk about the same things I always cared about. I don’t get to be as hands-on with the kids anymore, but I do get to work toward enacting change on a much larger scale.” Also important to Mr. Aiken’s life as a humanitarian is his work as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. Since 2005, the singer has been passionately committed to supporting the organization’s education programs. Not only has Mr. Aiken testified before Congress urging the government to allocate more funds for UNICEF’s global work for children, he has also traveled to Indonesia and Uganda to see the devastating conditions affecting millions of the world’s children first-hand—disease, malnutrition, kidnapping, and war, chief among them. “You just cannot believe how some of these kids are forced to live,” says Mr. Aiken. “It’s truly heartbreaking, yet many people don’t even know these conditions exist. I am hoping to shed light on some of these problems and so that more resources can be allocated to help make things better.” Mr. Aiken’s upcoming album A THOUSAND DIFFERENT WAYS expresses the many different kinds of love in the world, including his deep love for his fellow man, particularly the littlest ones among us. Where did such a driving need to help others come from? “The need for help!” he answers matter-of-factly. “You know, my mother has always been someone who urged me to help people in need. Maybe that’s it. I don’t think it’s something you can learn. It’s just something you do.”

The bio used by the government site is from the RCA Press Biography, but it is nice to see that some people will read some good things about Clay Aiken because God knows we won't be reading them in the press. **click the link for the whole biography**

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At 6:23 PM, Blogger Chardonnay said...

I really loved this blog VV. So true. And it astounds me that relatively NO ONE knows these things about him.

Thank you. Hope you get lots of reads besides us.

At 5:22 PM, Blogger lakecat said...

Isn't that the truth! At least his fans keep up with his humanitarian activities.

I vowed to comment to anyone who makes nasty comments about anyone within my hearing range, unless it is deserved.


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