Chicago had the largest turnout, with over 50 people! Volunteers cleaned over 4 acres of a Chicago park and mulched trees for the summer. It was a beautiful sunny day spent outside doing good old fashioned manual labor with friends, and making friends with strangers. 

“When we showed up to Douglas Park, my friends and I were pretty overwhelmed at how huge it was. We figured we’d target a corner of the park, clean it up, put mulch around the trees, and that would be all we could get to in the few hours I had before I had to go perform in a show on the other side of town. As a kid, I never had to play in a trash-filled playground or worry if my bare feet would land on broken glass when I jumped off the swing. Not the case here. Amanda kicked off the Chicago CommuniTyler event atop a little hill, which was to be our meeting place for the day. It was so great seeing Northwestern friends, familiar faces, and meeting new people – some from around Chicago, some who had traveled from as far as Georgia to take part in the day. Thankfully Ty gave us a beautiful sunny day to be outside. The most obvious starting point for trash pick up was the playground, which was spotless within 20 minutes with so many helping hands on deck. Before we knew it, our little hill meeting spot was out of eyesight, and people from the street were thanking us for cleaning up the park where their children play. Our “corner” of the park just kept expanding, and what a difference it made. The park looked amazing, every CommuniTyler volunteer was sufficiently sweaty, covered in mulch dust, and united in friendship and service.”

−Erika Kokkinos


“The CommuniTyler event in Douglas Park was beyond what words can express. I felt Tyler’s presence with us at every moment: his energy was palpable from the very beginning, where the large group of us jumped up and down in a circle, getting warmed up for the event, everyone completely loose and smiling wide, to the very end when everyone hugged goodbye, sweaty but invigorated from the morning of hard work. When patrons of the park went out of their way to thank us for cleaning up, I couldn’t help but think how Ty would have immediately befriended these appreciative people. The very fact that the day was sunny and beautiful was a complete reflection of every volunteer’s respect for Tyler and the impact he will continue to make. ”

−Hannah Chapel


“I had a great time volunteering at CommuniTyler on the 19th. The event was the perfect combination of well organized and laid back. I really felt like we accomplished a lot in those few hours at the park, yet we had plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and the awesome company. I loved catching up with college friends that I don’t get to see all that often, like Dave Nebel and Maija Mikkila. Mulching trees sounds like a lot of hard work and I think we definitely all expected a tough day when we saw the size of those initial piles. But we made a game of it and those piles were demolished and the trees were ready for the spring much more quickly than I imagined. The entire group worked together and I was able to meet some new people and catch up with old friends. And when I wanted, I could join a more quiet group, spread mulch and reflect. With the sun on my back and friends working beside me, the time flew by as we made a small difference in the park and a small difference in ourselves. We were all present, for those few hours, living Ty’s motto, and hopefully taking it with us into the rest of our lives. ”

−Sara Hughes