What Tyler Can Give Will Amaze You
Two years ago, in June 2020, Tyler Forgeron started his giving organization, Tyler Can, as an initiative to collect cans and bottles that could be redeemed for cash to pass along to area charities. Twenty-five months and many thousands of can and bottle redemptions later, Mr. Forgeron has gifted an amount exceeding $30,000 to good causes.
For example, this summer, Mr. Forgeron has directed a donation of $5,000 from Aqueduct Technologies to Westwood-based Lifeworks.
The end result of each week’s effort, Mr. Forgeron estimates, is about one to two hundred dollars which he can direct to the charities of his choice. And Mr. Forgeron’s giving doesn’t stop.
Aqueduct Technologies is a technology service and solutions company headquartered in Waltham. It is the fourth largest minority-owned business in Massachusetts.
Lifeworks is a nonprofit human services provider that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Lifeworks has assisted Mr. Forgeron with services since he was a small child with autism. The donation will assist local individuals with autism and their families in need of several services and supports.
“I selected Lifeworks because there are a lot of people struggling out there these days. [ ] You know the pandemic affected many jobs and businesses and I wanted to give something for funding for people with disabilities that could help them out. . . . Lifeworks definitely jumped to my mind. . . . I’ve been getting services from them since I was a little kid,” says Mr. Forgeron.
Mr. Forgeron is a prolific giver. Beginning in June 2020, he has typically given a check, often in the amount of $50, to one or more charitable organizations on a weekly basis. Organizations along with Lifeworks which have received gifts from Mr. Forgeron include Walpole Community Food Pantry, Smile Train, Friend of Foster Care, Jimmy Fund, Walpole Scout House, Goals for Greyson, Breaking Bread, and many, many more. With multiple donations to organizations like this each week, often with repeat beneficiaries and perhaps some larger donations sprinkled in - such as the one from Aqueduct - the money adds up.
“I don’t mind helping out,” says Mr. Forgeron. His Twitter profile states, “[M]y goal is to become an influence and to inspire others to do great things.” It seems he is accomplishing just that.
“The entire Aqueduct team is impressed with the positive impact that Tyler is having in the community by providing a service that not only helps the environment through recycling, but also generates support for deserving nonprofit organizations such as Lifeworks,” said Aqueduct’s President and Chief Executive Officer Manak Ahluwalia. “While we usually select a charitable organization, this year we selected an individual, Tyler, who embodies all the characteristics we support.”
“The world needs more people like Tyler,” said Brian Clark, Director of Lifeworks’ Autism Support Center. “He loves helping people and giving back. His fundraising has given him so much positive feedback and a strong sense of purpose. The community has rallied around him and loves his message and enthusiasm.”
Mr. Forgeron’s capacity to give to others appears to result from his remarkably generous personality, penchant for hard work, and the reputation he has earned in the community. It was Aqueduct that initiated contact with Mr. Forgeron’s family with the idea of donating to Tyler Can to support a good cause. Aqueduct offered to contribute a portion of the funds raised in its annual golf tournament to Tyler Can.
This June, Mr. Forgeron’s mother, Tracy Deroma took to Facebook to share her excitement. “To say I was blown away is an understatement! That a major organization would choose a relatively unknown person just really is so inspirational! And that by choosing Tyler who happens to be doing this charity work as a one man organization living with a disability shows [that] people with disabilities can and do make a difference!”
There was another big surprise to come. Upon arriving at the golf tournament, Mr. Forgeron learned that Aqueduct Technologies had decided to donate the entire proceeds of the fundraiser, plus its own matching gift, to the charity of Mr. Forgeron’s choice. The first organization that came to Mr. Forgeron’s mind was Lifeworks.
“Our team is proud that a great local business like Aqueduct has also recognized [Tyler’s] efforts, and we are grateful to be able to use this funding to help others,” said Mr. Clark.
Donating to charity isn’t just writing checks, however. It requires significant time and dedication, and Mr. Forgeron has made charitable giving his main occupation.
Because many in the community have by now heard of Mr. Forgeron’s charitable initiative, the number of cans that Mr. Forgeron collects for redemption every week numbers in the thousands. Processing them for redemption is time-consuming.
After the cans are dropped off to his home in Walpole or picked up by Mr. Forgeron, they are stored in a shed on the family property. They need to be sorted. Items with no redemption value, like some plastic containers, must be separated from the items with value. Metals and plastics must be separated from glass. The Walpole Redemption Center collects soda cans and plastic soda bottles. Yankee Spirits in Norwood collects only glass bottles.
After items are sorted, they need to be counted. As mentioned, they number in the thousands each week. Then, Mr. Forgeron transports them for redemption. Mr. Forgeron has a regular Friday drop-off scheduled with the Walpole Redemption Center. He heads to Yankee Spirits almost every day.
“It’s a legit job that he puts in hours every week,” observes Mr. Clark.
“I’ve been trying to empty out the shed,” says Mr. Forgeron. “I almost had the shed empty last week until more bags came.”
Trash bags full of cans and bottles are loaded into Mr. Forgeron’s car. Multiple trips each week are required.
Sometimes Ms. Deroma helps out when she is not working at her job. Sometimes the Lifeworks staff helps out, about once a month. But Mr. Forgeron is always working. The end result of each week’s effort, Mr. Forgeron estimates, is about one to two hundred dollars which he can direct to the charities of his choice.
“[M]y goal is to become an influence and to inspire others to do great things.” -- Tyler Forgeron
And Mr. Forgeron’s giving doesn’t stop. Following his $5,000 gift with Aqueduct to Lifeworks just a few weeks ago, on Tuesday, August 2, 2022, Mr. Forgeron handed another donation to Mr. Clark for Lifeworks – two checks in the amount of $50 each. Additionally, this week, he will also be donating a $50 check each to the Walpole Food Pantry and St. Vincent De Paul.
When asked if he ever treats himself with the earnings from redemptions, Mr. Forgeron says, “Not really. I just like to help out charities.”
“He’s turned down all offers. We have to convince him, ‘Listen, you have to use some of this for gas money. Those are just business expenses,’” says Mr. Clark. He notes that Mr. Forgeron must be urged to keep some of the money for his own use. For example, there are expenses related to trash bags to contain the cans, car maintenance including cleaning expense, and gasoline. “That’s not money for yourself to buy something cool even though you could take a portion of it. . . . He’s a very selfless person. He wants it all to go back to people.”
Mr. Forgeron says he is seeking balance among his many activities. He also works as usher at Showcase Cinemas at Patriot Place. He walks dogs and “babysits” pets, which has included looking after dogs and cats. Currently, he is caring for a rabbit and a gecko. He is a vendor at Walpole Farmers Market every Saturday, selling items like earrings, keychains, DVDs, and bath bombs. A portion of the proceeds from these sales, too, Mr. Forgeron directs to charities. But most of his time, Mr. Forgeron’s energy and dedication goes into the work of giving through Tyler Can.
Beyond his current activities, Mr. Forgeron dreams of a future career as an actor. “I have been looking into future careers. I might be following my dreams of becoming an actor one day. It was a dream I had since I was a teenager. I got so nervous because I never followed through with it. So now I’m trying to put myself out there for it. I’m looking into minor roles,” he says. Lifeworks is assisting him by contacting casting agencies look into for work around the local area.
Mr. Forgeron would also like to try out for one of his favorite television shows, Survivor. “I’ve been trying out for that show since I was eighteen. . . it would be fun and adventurous,” he says, noting that being a contestant on that show would take him out of Massachusetts for over a month. If he is a winner, “I’ll go into early retirement!” he says.
In the meantime, Mr. Forgeron keeps giving.
Thanks to Tyler Forgeron and Brian Clark for speaking with Westwood Minute. Community members who would like to support Mr. Forgeron’s charitable efforts can transport their cans and bottles with redemption value (please no recyclables without redemption value) to Mr. Forgeron’s shed located at 76 Coolidge Road in Walpole.