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Happening Sept. 30 to Oct. 6: Acts of Kindness week in memory of Waterloo West graduate

WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) – Be kind.  That’s the message Tyler Swyter’s mom hopes will be spread during this year’s Make Life Swyter Acts of Kindness event.  It’s a simple gesture that could mean the world to someone who is struggling.

“The purpose of Make Life Swyter is to encourage kindness, with the belief that one simple act of kindness has the potential to save a life,” said Tyler’s mom, Karen Schatz.  “We never know what someone next to us may be going through, but we can attempt to make their day a little brighter by showing them they are cared about.”

Tyler Swyter was just 21-years-old when he took his own life October 4, 2015.  He had graduated from Waterloo West in 2012, a seemingly happy person.  His death shocked his family and friends.

“My son’s co-workers said they had sat next to Tyler for over a year and never, ever had any idea he was so sad,” said Karen.

Karen hopes people will start to take care of their mental health just as much as they do their physical health.

“As a society, we will go to the doctor for an earache or sore throat, but we won’t go to the doctor or a therapist for mental health issues. There is no shame in seeking help for mental health, and we need to work on changing that stigma. There are resources available for those who need it,” she said.

A large project is being worked on that will positively impact around 10,000 Cedar Valley students that week.  Also, there are the following Make Life Swyter Acts of Kindness events:

  • October 2nd – Rockets Donuts in Waterloo will have their Make Life Swyter donut. Last year, they sold over 25 dozen in the one day.
  • October 4th – Scratch Cupcakery in Waterloo and Cedar Falls will have their special Make Life Swyter cupcake. It’s Tyler’s favorite cake flavor, marble, and decorated in suicide prevention colors of purple and teal.

The community is asked to join in on the movement of kindness.  Say hi to a stranger, write a kind message to someone, ask someone how they’re really doing… one simple act of kindness could change someone’s life.

“I don’t ever want another family to go through the tragedy of what we’ve had to go through. It’s devastating and life-changing for everyone affected. People shouldn’t feel so sad and lonely that they want to take their own lives. If we can save even just one life by having this annual Make Life Swyter week, then we’ve done our job,” said Karen.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.  If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.

Visit the Make Life Swyter Acts of Kindness event Facebook page: here:

  “Tyler was a very kind and loving person. He was a loyal friend, always wanting everyone to be happy, and most times would do everything he could to make that happen. He was always so concerned with how everyone else was, that he forgot to take care of himself. He was very smart. He could solve a Rubix Cube in a minute, and ace a test without even preparing. He used to get made fun of in high school because peers in his classes knew he wasn’t doing any of his homework or paying much attention in class, but yet he could get an A on his tests.” – Tyler’s mom, Karen

Abby Turpin

Evening Anchor

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