Title: Founder and Executive Director
Hometown: Natick, MA
I am the founder and executive director of PuzzlesToRemember, a 501c3 organization that collects puzzles and distributes them to facilities that care for Alzheimer’s patients. Since 2008, I have distributed over 8,100 puzzles to over 840 facilities across North America. In addition, I consulted with Springbok Puzzles and created Springbok PuzzlesToRemember, puzzles made to meet the specific needs of Alzheimer’s patients. I also am an editor for the AlzheimersReadingRoom.com, an online site that provides support and information for Alzheimer’s caregivers. I work as a Research Intern at Boston University’s School of Medicine’s Department of Pharmacology, research enzymes involved in Alzheimer’s disease. Academically, I am a high school senior at Boston University Academy, and I am currently taking all my coursework at Boston University.
Special training or skills needed:
I have been taking courses at Boston University since the summer of 2010, so I have had the opportunity to learn a great deal.
How to turn a challenge into an asset:
My greatest obstacle was also my greatest gift. From the age of 6 through 10, I was a caregiver to my great-grandmother who had Alzheimer’s disease. Being an Alzheimer’s caregiver is not an easy task. However, I believe it made me a more responsible and caring person. After my great-grandmother’s death, I founded PuzzlesToRemember to provide helpful activities to other Alzheimer’s patients.
Tip: Learn from
Helpful people and orgs:
There were many companies that helped me. Most of all, Springbok Puzzles produced puzzles with low piece count, large piece size, and serene, memory-provoking themes.
These puzzles have received wonderful feedback from Alzheimer’s care facilities. I also received support from generationOn, J C Penny, Nestle USA, American Express, DoSomething, Harvard Pilgrim Health, Stop & Shop, several Rotary Clubs, and from many puzzle companies including Springbok, Ceaco, Clementoni, Buffalo Games, Masterpieces Puzzles, and others.
How to reach out to other orgs:
I sent out many emails.
I received helpful advice several times from Mrs. Eisenberger, the founder of the GoodPeopleFund, including advice about how to incorporate and become a 501c3 organization.
My foundation is very dependent upon email so that I can contact both people who want to donate puzzles and facilities that want puzzles. I also depend on donations through PayPal to help with shipping costs.
Word to the wise:
Ideas can begin very small. Even small acts of kindness can build into something huge and meaningful.
How to jump on the movement:
Most of what I do with PuzzlesToRemember is documented at www.PuzzlesToRemember.org.
There are lots of ways people can help. You can collect puzzles and contact me; I can locate facilities in your area that want the puzzles for their residents. You can donate online and help with shipping costs. Some organizations in Portugal and Australia have formed their own branches of PuzzlesToRemember, providing puzzles for Alzheimer’s patients in their areas.
Email PuzzlesToRemember: PuzzlesToRemember@gmail.com