The community gathered at Mic Mac Park for the 6th Annual World’s Largest Human Puzzle Piece For Autism Awareness on Sunday afternoon, (April 28), for a record breaking turnout.
Organizer Jessica Szucki started the event in 2014. Her three children all have Autism. 7 year old Dryden’s Autism is severe, 6 year old Cooper’s is moderate, and 4 year old Lennon’s is mild. “I was 29 weeks pregnant with Lennon at the first one,” explained Jessica. “I just wanted to do something fun to raise awareness. The first year I sold t-shirts and had stickers and that was it. It’s grown every year, adding mascots, food, merchandise, vendors, face painting, etc. And before yesterday, I’ve been able to donate $25,000 to the Summit Centre.” Sunday’s event raised an additional $4,000 bringing the total raised to $29,000.
Established in 1997, The Summit Centre for Preschool Children with Autism is a charitable organization affiliated with the University of Windsor. Their mission, as stated on the organization’s website, is a committment “to providing an effective and supportive state of the art treatment program to service families and their young children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Windsor and surrounding communities. Enhancing public awareness of Autism and the benefits of early intervention are the goals of the program.”
Jessica’s children all have utilized the services of The Summit Centre in the past, with her youngest, Lennon, graduating last June.
“All three of them have gone through the centre,” said Jessica. “They were diagnosed there by Dr. Marcia Gragg, and they all did full time therapy there over the years. We were involved daily for close to five years. It was life changing, the best possible place for my boys – the staff are amazing and the program is phenomenal.”
On Sunday participants of the World’s Largest Human Puzzle Piece For Autism Awareness put on blue shirts, enjoyed socializing, activities, entertainment, a bbq, exploring a Transit Windsor Bus, and visiting with children’s characters courtesy of D&D Mascots. Several local Cosplayers dressed as princesses were also a hit with the children. They included Charlotte Roberts of Charlie Wondrland Cosplay, Natasha Lafontaine, and Carrie Schrei.
Eventually everyone gathered to form the shape of a puzzle piece in the parking lot next to the Mic Mac Park baseball diamonds. Windsor Firefighters extended their Fire Truck’s aerial ladder way up to snap a photo of the human puzzle piece.
Volunteer Joe Jraige (Spotted In Windsor) used a handheld counter clicker as each person passed him to become part of the puzzle. In total 475 people participated, breaking the record of 451 set in 2017.
World’s Largest Human Puzzle Piece For Autism Awareness Participant History
2014 – 427 people
2015 – 371 people
2016 – 434 people
2017 – 451 people
2018 – 423 people
2019 – 475 people (new record)
The 7th Annual Largest Human Puzzle Piece For Autism Awareness will take place around the same time next year.
For more information about The Summit Centre for Preschool Children with Autism visit http://www.summitcentre.org