Project Puzzle Piece is an amazing opportunity for the Water-Oak community to come together and support our autistic community members and their families!
Watertown High School capstone student, Evan Arnold, cuts a wooden sign for his role in support of Project Puzzle Piece, a collaboration with Sun, Moon & Stars, Inc. The project is an opportunity for businesses to help spread awareness and raise funds for the Watertown Unified Sports spring 2020 season. Sign orders are due December 2, 2019.
There are opportunities for both business proprietors and individual residents to get involved and support Project Puzzle Piece!
For $100 each (cash or check), businesses will receive one custom, hand-painted 40” wide x 45” high wooden sign in the shape of a puzzle piece to display in, or in front of, their stores. The benefits include:
Increased traffic to the business
Publicity and increased awareness for the business
Promotion of the business on the Sun, Moon & Stars web site, event Facebook page(s) and in local press
Helping the community
Wooden puzzle piece signs will be sold from November 1, 2019 through December 2, 2019.
Nov. 1 Business signs go on sale
Dec. 2 Business sign orders due
April 1 Business proprietors pick up signs at WHS ceremony, exhibit and crawl kickoff
April 2-3 Signs delivered to businesses, if necessary
May 1-7 Signs picked up from businesses (to be stored)
For $25, (cash or check), families will receive one lawn sign featuring the Project Puzzle Piece logo (see logo at top of this page)
Residential lawn signs will be sold from January 1, 2020 through March 1, 2020 and delivered by April 1, 2020.
DID YOU KNOW?
In 2018, the CDC determined that approximately 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
1 in 37 boys
1 in 151 girls
Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.
Autism affects all ethnic and socioeconomic groups.
Based on these statistics, you will likely have a loved one, friend, classmate, neighbor, or co-worker with autism at some point in your life.
WHY UNIFIED SPORTS?
Unified Sports is a Special Olympics program that offers students with and without disabilities to socialize, build friendships and tackle challenges all while participating in a sport. As Wendy Ross, a developmental and behavioral-health pediatrician and founder of the non-profit Autism Inclusion Resources, explains “Autism is a social disability, it needs to be addressed in a social setting.” Recreation is important in promoting inclusion and quality of life. Participation in Unified Sports programs also helps improve general skills that can be applied in settings like school and work. Research has shown autistic athletes benefit from increased self-esteem and improved overall physical and mental health.
The Unified Sports team is made up of both Athletes and Helpers. In keeping with the goals of Special Olympics, helper students will participate in activities with their assigned athletes, facilitate activities, take on team leadership roles and assist the coaches at practices and games. Watertown Public Schools reintroduced a Unified Sports program for middle and high school students last school year. The “comeback” of the Unified Sports program involved separate basketball practices at the middle school and the high school as well as two basketball game events with combined membership of the high school and middle school teams. A myriad of adult volunteers and Watertown Public Schools employees offered their time and ideas to support the success of the Unified Sports Program.
The vision for its second year is to expand to two seasons of sports: basketball (winter) and track and field (spring). In order to move forward with adding an additional sport, equipment and uniforms will need to be purchased. A stretch goal of Project Puzzle Piece would be to attend or host a nearby school district Unified Sports team to participate in an intermural game. The costs associated would include bussing to the nearby school district or, if hosting, the snacks and refreshments to welcome and celebrate our players and their families.
As Wendy Ross, a developmental and behavioral-health pediatrician and founder of the non-profit Autism Inclusion Resources, explains “Autism is a social disability, it needs to be addressed in a social setting.” Participation in Unified Sports programs also helps improve general skills that can be applied in settings like school and work. Research has shown autistic athletes benefit from increased self-esteem and improved overall physical and mental health. To learn more about Unified Sports, visit playunified.org.
PROJECT PUZZLE PIECE AND THE CAPSTONE CONNECTION
Project Puzzle Piece is coordinated by Sun, Moon & Stars, Inc. and Watertown Public Schools. Watertown High School seniors must complete a 60-hour capstone project as a graduation requirement. A number of Watertown High School capstone student volunteers will play a role in making Project Puzzle Piece a success. From designing the puzzle piece template to cutting, sanding, and painting each puzzle piece to designing marketing materials, students are getting real-world experience and fulfilling the requirements of the capstone project through their active participation in Project Puizzle Piece.
Throughout the project, follow check back to this website and follow our social media for updates!
PROJECT PUZZLE PIECE AND AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH
April is World Autism Awareness Month. This internationally-celebrated global event focuses on increasing global understanding and acceptance of people with autism. Project Puzzle Piece will culminate in April 2020 with a formal unveiling of business-sponsored puzzle pieces. On the evening of April 1st, community members are invited to attend a gallery walk of the puzzle pieces at Watertown High School. For the remainder of the month, puzzle pieces will be displayed in front of businesses around town. Community members are encouraged to visit each business during the month of April.