This blog post was written by Kathy Reilly for her daughter Kaitlin, who is a junior at Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale, New Jersey.
On April 15, 2011, Kaitlin Reilly launched her “Every Piece Counts” project in which she is completing the “World’s Largest Jigsaw Puzzle” (24,000 pieces and 70 sq. ft.), entitled “LIFE” to raise $24,000 for Autism Speaks. Kaitlin holds the titles of “Youngest in the World to Complete Solo”, “The Youngest in the World Solo after Mixing All the Puzzle Pieces Prior to Assembling” and “First to Complete in New Jersey, USA”
Since the launch, Kaitlin and her project have been featured in numerous newspapers across the county and have raised over $3,000 for Autism Speaks. To read about the project and to see the progress of the puzzle, visit www.everypiececounts.com. Kaitlin has set-up a camera that takes a photograph of her working on the puzzle every minute and at the end there will be a short video of her completing the entire 24,000 piece puzzle. Check out the “teaser’ video below!
In addition to working hard on the puzzle, Kaitlin is actively getting the community involved. She organized a “Dress Down Day” at a local school where the teachers and staffed donated $5.00 to wear casual clothing for a day. Kaitlin is also teaming up with Moe’s Southwest Grill in Mahwah, NJ, to host a dine-in night and benefit concert. Some of NJ’s local bands and high school rockers will be playing on Saturday, June 12th from 5 – 9 p.m. Moe’s will be donating 10% of the proceeds from the entire day to Autism Speaks, directly benefiting Kaitlin’s project. If you are in the area, please be sure to stop by!
Kaitlin would love your support of her project, by making a donation and sharing it with family and friends. Feel free to “LIKE” the project on Facebook, since she’s trying to get 24,000 people to “LIKE” the page. She also needs a good home for the puzzle when it is completed, so please email her if you have any ideas/suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please help Kaitlin’s efforts by reaching her goal of $24,000 and donate at http://bit.ly/jz0DQw.
If you’re a high school or college student that would like to get involved with our organization, visit the Autism Speaks U website for information.
Kaitlin Reilly, resident of Allendale, N.J. and Junior at Northern Highlands Regional High School, will be completing the ‘World’s Largest Jigsaw Puzzle’ (24,000 pieces and 126 sq. ft.), entitled, “Life,” to raise funds for Autism Speaks. Kaitlin, having been working on jigsaw puzzles for the last seven years, feels that this is the biggest challenge yet.
Kaitlin has completed this puzzle several times before, and is no stranger when it comes to completing puzzles that require significant time contributions, averaging approximately 250 hours of work to complete one of these involved puzzles. She is currently “Youngest in the World to Complete Solo,” “The Youngest in the World Solo after Mixing All the Puzzle Pieces Prior to Assembling,” and “First to Complete in New Jersey, USA.”
To learn more about Kaitlin’s latest endeavor and to make a donation, visit her website: http://www.everypiececounts.com
Autism Speaks: Thanks for taking the time to have a chat with us! How did you come up with ‘Every Piece Counts?’
Kaitlin Reilly: Well, I was working on a puzzle and my brother came up with an idea. He thought that maybe we get could people to sponsor a piece and then donate to a charity.
AS: Why autism?
KR: Well my cousin has autism, and I have other family members and friends that are affected. I wanted to raise awareness and funds for autism research.
AS: So what is your game plan?
KR: I am looking to raise $24,000, because the puzzle has 24,000 pieces. I am going to work putting the pieces together as donations come in. I want to keep with the pace!
AS: What is the puzzle design?
KR: The puzzle is called “Life,” and is actually the worlds largest puzzle. The Autism Speaks puzzle piece logo and the “Life” puzzle are fitting. We are all puzzle pieces and we all fit together to form a bigger picture of unity and overall life. Every person, every animal, every living thing fits together.
AS: Where will you be assembling this puzzle?
KR: There is a room in my house that we call the ‘Puzzle Room.’ Luckily this puzzle fits!
AS: How did you become interested in puzzles?
KR: I started when I was 10. I saw a puzzle of New York City and I just loved it. There was 1,000 pieces! I loved the picture, but had never done a puzzle before. My family helped me and I have been hooked ever since!
AS: What are some of your other hobbies?
KR: I play tennis, volunteer, cook, bake, and well, put together puzzles!