Chill Night Award Winners


Volunteer of the Year Award

Mona Tyree was nominated because of her dedication to the Centralville Neighborhood and the Lowell community. Just to name a few, Mona was a founding member of the DEI-Lowell Consortium, is a member of the Afro-American Community Collaborative and a critical planner of the Juneteenth celebration, was on the Black Joy sculpture committee, and is a member of Enterprise Bank’s Multicultural Alliance. Our award is one of many! Mona was also recognized as a 2023 Martin Luther King Living the Dream Partners Award nominee and was honored with the first Mary Scott Mitchell Community Service Award.

Community Transformation Award

The Latinx Community Center for Empowerment, LCCE, stands as a beacon of change and progress in our community. Through its tireless efforts in education, workforce development, and civic engagement, LCCE has become a cornerstone for socioeconomic development. By empowering individuals with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed, LCCE not only transforms lives but also uplifts the entire community, fostering a culture of inclusivity, opportunity, and growth. With its unwavering commitment to equity and empowerment, LCCE continues to make a profound and lasting impact on the lives of those it serves. It has made a huge impact with the Lowell Hispanic and Latinx Festival in 2022 and 2023 in North Common Park, with live music, captivating cultural presentations, mesmerizing dances, and a delightful array of Latin American cuisine.

Community Connections was a runner-up for the Community Transformation Award in 2024.

Chili and Stew Cooks

Amateur Chili: Amy Telles’s White Chicken Chili

Professional or Nonprofit Chili: Project Kompass’s Project Chili – Turkey, tequila, lime

Traditional Stew: Kear Ou’s Cambodian Prohok-katiss


We are so proud to announce Sothara Ly as Volunteer of the Year! In addition, our committee chose TWO community groups for the Community Transformation Award: Friends of Tyler Park and Free Soil Arts Collective!

Volunteer of the Year

Image with two people holding a plaque
Sothara, right, with co-chair Fahmina Zaman, left. Photo: Britt Boughner.

Sothara Ly has been a dedicated Lowell super volunteer for over 10 years for organizations including Coalition for A Better Acre, City of Lowell Senior Center, Mill City Grows, and more! The list of things she’s done everywhere simply can’t fit here, from civic engagement, doorknocking, registration tables, food banks, connecting with the Khmer community, and so much more.

Community Transformation Award

Each year, the Friends of Tyler Park hold a park clean-up, three summer concerts, and a family movie night. The concerts draw a decent crowd from the neighborhood, with free food, raffles, and a table or two of community organizations. Each month of the summer, kids in the neighborhood look forward to these events where they get to let loose and play together in Tyler Park.

Woman holding two plaques.
Christa Brown, founder of Free Soil Art Collective. Photo: Britt Boughner.

Free Soil Art Collective‘s mission is to create opportunities for BIPOC artists in the Merrimack Valley to invest in their craft, develop new work, and share with the public in the place they call home. They haven’t limited their work to the gallery or theatre, however! In the last two years, they did public performances on Juneteenth, and they’re working with the City of Lowell to create a series of Black history signs downtown.


We are so proud to announce Jack Moynihan as Volunteer of the Year and Lowell Litter Krewe for the Community Transformation Award!

Volunteer of the Year

We’ve had the pleasure of working with Jack since we first formed six years ago. For years, Jack has been serving the Lowell community as a board member of Merrimack Repertory TheatreWhistler House Museum of Art / Lowell Art Association, Inc., Lowell Canalwater Cleaners, Mill City Grows, and Lowell Downtown Neighborhood Association (LDNA). He also volunteers with many groups including the Lowell Parks & Conservation TrustLowell National Historical Park, and the Litter Krewe. He’s also helped out with many DIY Lowell projects like Points of Light Lantern Celebration, Midsummer Dream Festival, and Restroom Feasibility. We don’t just appreciate his community-mindedness, but also his (and his wife Carolyn’s) friendliness, dedication, humor, and cheer.

Community Transformation Award

The Lowell Litter Krewe is committed to the creation of volunteer opportunities, staying flexible to meet community needs, and providing the tools necessary to get the job done. From their nomination: Through their networking, open hearts, and generosity, they’ve removed hundreds of thousands of pounds of trash in the city, including large discarded items in our canal system with their partnership with Lowell Canalwaters Cleaners. They continue to open up their weekend schedules to schools, non-profits, neighborhood groups, and businesses and rally together to clean AND beautify spaces across Lowell, including neglected, overgrown, or forgotten areas. I am in awe of their accomplishments, leadership, and camaraderie!

Congratulations to all the honorable mentions for the Community Transformation Award:


DIY Lowell did not celebrate a Community Chill Night in 2021 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, therefore, no winners were chosen that year. We look forward to celebrating community in 2022!


Community Transformation Award

Project LEARN won the Community Transformation Award for the 4th Annual Kids Summer BookFest celebration. The fun celebration of early education welcomes hundreds of families. BookFest features performances and poetry, free books, ice cream, crafts, face painting and access to community resources. In partnership with the Lowell Early Childhood Council and support from sponsors, BookFest serves as the kicks off for summer literacy!

It wasn’t just one day: The student art project “Jack’s Flags” brightened Kerouac Park for the whole summer! This is a great example of how some color and movement transforms an area and helps promote literacy. Bravo!

Volunteer of the Year Award

Artist Cheryl Guerino was chosen as Volunteer of the Year! She spearheaded support for two years of a Midsummer Dream on Merrimack Street, went above and beyond during Points of Light Lantern Celebration, and has helped out behind the scenes on many other efforts. You might recognize her from CREATEa Arts at the Farm Market at Mill No. 5 or other festivals and markets, but she’s also a tireless Lowell promoter! Thank you Cheryl!

Above photos by Project LEARN and Jennifer Myers

Chili or Stew Winners

The 2020 Chill Night had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, therefore there were no chili winners that year.


Community Transformation Award

RISE Coalition receives their award, photo by Britt Boughner

RISE Coalition receives their award

Photo by Britt Boughner

RISE Coalition was selected to receive the 2019 COMMUNITY TRANSFORMATION AWARD for Welcoming Week Lowell! Among many events, including an outdoor film screening, the Welcoming Week planning committee and Enterprise Bank collaborated with youth engaged in organizations around the City to create panels of art to be displayed outside of the Merrimack St. Enterprise branch.

Volunteer of the Year Award

Artist Mary Hart won the 2019 VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR AWARD for her dedication to DIY Lowell projects such as Downtown Winter Decoration and Midsummer Dream 2 Magical Festival. Mary embodies the DIY spirit even when not working on specific DIY events or projects – as she regularly and creatively promotes art and artists in the Lowell Area.

Chili or Stew Winners

…and last, but not least, Britt Boughner’s Christian Hill Chili Pods took home the amateur chili award Congratulations to all!


Community Transformation Award

The Community Transformation Award goes to a community group or nonprofit that went above and beyond transforming or activating an underutilized or overlooked public space, as chosen by the DIY Lowell Advisory Committee. Congratulations to the No Bully Zone for winning!

Volunteer of the Year

Volunteer of the Year goes out to a DIY Lowell volunteer or volunteers who exhibited special excellence in leading or working in a DIY Lowell group. This year, we had two winners:

Chili or Stew Winners


Community Transformation Award

Decatur WayAcre Coming Together Improving our Neighborhood (ACTION) won the Community Transformation Award for Decatur Way, a five-year project of building partnerships and bringing together hundreds of people to transform a forgotten alley that hid crime into a vibrant pedestrian way filled with art and vibrancy. Artists, Poets, and Citizens are continuing to come together to create art that will spill from the walkway into the neighborhood. Check out a Sun story here.

Volunteer of the Year Award

Chhavy Sinuon won Volunteer of the Year for her dedicated work on the lovely Domestic Violence Survivor Gallery of Hope. The interactive galler showcased survivors’ stories and art interpretations of their journey. More than 150 visitors found art that they could read, touch, see, feel, and hear in the three days it was active. It started conversations and connected people to resources. Check out a Lowell Sun report here and a photo gallery here.

Chili or Stew Winners

Maxine FarkasThe shocking winner of the chili contest was a 3-way tie between 110 Grill ChelmsfordMaxine Farkas, and Dave Ouellette! An instant run-off was held by audience applause with Maxine just barely edging the others out for our coveted certificate.