(PRWEB) October 25, 2006 -- Cure diabetes; help bring peace to northern Uganda; help kids go to school; send candy to troops in Iraq; check on caregivers and people who live alone; or how about build a new wing for a children's hospital?
These are just some of the efforts that American Idol fans have supported, not only on behalf of their favorite Idol, but simply because they can pool their enormous well-organized resources together to make a difference.
The list of fortunate charitable programs who have received contributions from this rapidly growing fan base includes well-known organizations such as UNICEF, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, The Children's Hospital and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, as well as newer organizations which have benefited from awareness and contributions such as the Bubel/Aiken Foundation, GuluWalk, CheckOnMe.org and others.
Many celebrities have put their names and visibility to work for the causes they support, but what makes this network of givers stand out is their passion for being part of a nation of tightly bonded fan-friends. American Idol fans are not on board because they are star-struck, but because they identify with someone who was just like them or like the people they know in their hometowns, families, schools, at work and places of worship. The exuberance that these supporters embrace from rallying around the lucky few contestants who become finalists for the American Idol reality TV phenomenon is unlike any other magic they have experienced in their lives in a long time.
When Clay Aiken was on American Idol, his fans began making contributions to the AE Finley YMCA in Raleigh, where Clay worked during the summer camps. They also sent money on his behalf to the Autism Society of NC, in honor of his work with a child with autism while in college.
The following information is from the news blog at Claymaniacs News Network.
In 2004, Clay participated in the "Arthur: Stories for Heroes” audio book, with proceeds benefiting the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and other children’s charities.
Also in 2004, Clay performed with Heather Headley at the Children & Families Initiative of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids event in New York City. There was recently a poster from that event, autographed by Clay and other participants, for sale on eBay in continued support.
A shirt and tie worn by Clay during his Summer 2004 Tour was auctioned in December 2004 in support of YouthAIDS, an action-based global initiative working in over sixty countries to educate and protect young people from HIV/AIDS. It brought over $2,400.
In support of the 2004 Give a Hand program, benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities, Clay's handprints in cement were auctioned for $15,099.
Clay is a national ambassador and spokesman for UNICEF, which advocates and places a high priority on AIDS education and protection of children’s health around the world.
In 2005, his participation in Kenneth Cole’s “Clothes Off Our Back” charity raised over $27,000 in support of UNICEF and other charities.
Early in 2006, Clay joined Susan Sarandon, Julianne Moore, Dustin Hoffman and other stars on "NBC for Tsunami Relief." The benefit raised more than $10 million nationally.
In addition, he served as 2005 national spokesperson for UNICEF's Trick or Treat campaign, 2004 national spokesperson for the Toys For Tots campaign, and supported Youth Service America, the Make A Wish Foundation, Best Buddies, and so much more.
In 2003, Clay formed his own foundation. The Bubel/Aiken Foundation was created in order to bring awareness to issues of inclusion. Their mission is to “provide services and financial assistance to facilitate the full integration of children with disabilities into the life environment of those without.” His heart was bound to the issue of inclusion when, while working at the YMCA, he learned there were no means to allow children with special needs into the camp programs.
I'm sure there's more. But think about this - the success of the fundraising spearheaded by Clay was really due to his fans, the Claymates, Claydawgs, Claymaniacs - Clay Nation. Many celebrities realize their position of power and influence and make use of it for the good of society. Kudos to all that do.
But for these young, fresh faced artists, flush with the initial glow of success, to enter into their careers with one foot on the concert stage and the other in mainstream altruistic endeavors, speaks to what could possibly become a new era of meaningfulness in the music industry.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if the next big format would include music that inspires the human spirit to action; to do good work, to affect positive change, to use our voices for more than just a song. To do things not normally imaginable by man.
Not like contemporary Christian music, which is often beautifully uplifting spiritually, but more a call to action.
I dream of a day when we can turn on the radio and hear music that inspires us to believe in each other, trust one another, help one another. Music that teaches us how to come together in the spirit of love, forgiveness and caring.
I know that music exists now. Why do we not hear it? I want more. Am I the only one?
touchstone (n) a basis for comparison; a reference point against which other things can be evaluated
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