Like any elementary school, you can imagine the halls of Woolwine Elementary plastered with art projects, collages and murals that celebrate learning and fun. At this time of year though, you’ll find the walls are decorated with puzzle pieces linked together to create a colorful border along the hallways.
The puzzle pieces represent an individual affected by autism or someone a student cares about. The Woolwine Warriors Team is selling the puzzle pieces to reach their fundraising goal for the 3rd Annual Dan River Autism Awareness 5k.
Amber Scott, Team Captain of Woolwine Warriors, has been teaching at Woolwine Elementary for two years. Amber recently discovered the Autism Awareness 5k online and wanted to get her school involved. As a small school with only 200 students, Amber was able to rally support from her fellow teachers and co-workers to register to run and walk for the cause.
Teachers, faculty and staff wanted to come up with an idea to raise awareness for autism, not just among Woolwine staff and students, but also within the Woolwine, Virginia community. They decided on selling puzzle piece cut outs. The puzzle piece has come to symbolize autism. According to the Autism Society, “The puzzle pattern reflects the mystery and complexity of the autism spectrum. The different colors and shapes represent the diversity of the people and families living with the condition. The brightness of the ribbon signals hope — hope that through increased awareness of autism, and through early intervention and appropriate treatments, people with autism will lead fuller, more complete lives.”
Students were sent home with a letter announcing the school would be selling puzzle pieces of all different colors to raise money for autism awareness. Amber exclaimed, “Many students jumped right on this!” Students can purchase a puzzle piece for $1.00. The students can then write on it with their own name, in memory of someone, or in honor of someone.
“We believed this would be a great opportunity to show our support for not only the two students with autism we have in our school, but for autism awareness, and other children with autism,” said Amber.
Woolwine has raised $275 through the sell of its puzzle pieces and they will continue to sell them up to race day on April 26, 2014.
We particularly love this fundraiser because of our own “puzzle board” which will be at the race again this year. On race day, we will invite participants to write a message on a puzzle piece to explain why they are participating.
Here’s a picture of our puzzle board from the 2013 race: