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What iCAN Do to Make A Difference

CHICAGO, IL - This article is written by one of our amazing iCAN community youth members from the #KIDSIllinois chapter. To learn more about participating within iCAN or to start your own KIDS chapter, please visit

My name is Riya Joshi and I am a rising sophomore at Walter Payton College Prep in Chicago. From solving crossword puzzles to participating in spelling bees at an early age, words and language have captivated my curiosity. Almost every weekend, my family and I have a “family game day” where we play word games, board games, and solve puzzles. During the stay at home order in Chicago, I decided to make my own puzzles, for fun. During our game day, I presented my puzzles to my family, and they loved it! I decided to combine my puzzles into a booklet, which became Detective Wordy! Even now, in the digital age, I find joy and thrill in deciphering the mystery of a good crossword puzzle.

Studies have shown that solving puzzles helps improve mental speed and thought processes. Certain puzzles are especially good for improving short-term memory. They have long been thought to decrease feelings of stress and anxiety and increase mental well-being. Studies have also connected puzzles to improved cognition in the elderly.

With COVID-19, as many seniors in long-term care facilities are still trying to find ways to combat isolation, I thought this might be a nice activity. For children in hospitals, maybe a fun puzzle could brighten up their day. I am donating copies of Detective Wordy to these facilities as well as Chicago libraries. You can purchase a copy of Detective Wordy on Lulu, and soon on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Every one book purchased covers the cost of printing and donating three more! You can visit my website for more information!

To read more about the work that kids and Covid-19 are doing to stay safe and well during the global pandemic, visit

#KIDS #LurieChildrens #iCANMakeADifference #DetectiveWordy #iCAN

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