Photo courtesy of http://www.twloha.com — Check out Heavy and Light tour starting this January.
“The vision is hope, and hope is real. You are not alone, and this is not the end of your story.” These inspiring words create the vision of non-profit organization To Write Love On Her Arms.
Founded by Jamie Tworkowski in 2006, To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) was solely created to help a friend recover from a horrible downfall of drugs, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
TWLOHA focuses on helping people suffering from depression, thoughts about suicide, self injury, and substance abuse. The organization emphasizes finding help and hope to make it through these difficult times
TWLOHA all originated from a friend of Tworkowski’s, 19-year-old, Renee Yohe. Yohe needed treatment, for attempts at suicide and a downward spiral of drug problems, so Jamie and five other friends decided they would find a way to help.
Tworkowski and the others knew that they would need to find money to pay for Yohe’s treatment, so they set up a MySpace page to see if people would help, and they sure did.
To Write Love on Her Arms visited the Endicott College campus this past October, and explained the basics of the organization and also opened a question and answer portion.
The group started selling T-shirts, with the line “To Write Love On Her Arms,” which was taken from Tworkowski’s story of Renee’s redemption from drugs, depression and alcohol. From the MySpace page and the T-shirts, the group became a fast-growing resource for help.
“In the last two years, our team has responded to 80,000 messages and those messages have come from 40 different countries,” said Tworkowski in an interview with Greenville College in the fall of 2008.
“We get emails everyday saying ‘Thank you for changing my life.’ ‘You have given me hope to go on.’ ‘You have saved my life.’ It truly is amazing to hear that we make a difference,” wrote a spokesperson for TWLOHA in an e-mail.
Suicide is one of the biggest issues To Write Love On Her Arms deals with. According to the American Association of Suicidology, every 2 hours and 11 minutes, a person under the age of 25 commits suicide. Suicide is also the third leading cause of death for the teenage and young adult age.
Another extremely prominent issue TWLOHA deals with is depression. According to the World Health Organization, 121 million people suffer from depression all around the world.
The National Institute of Mental Health says that 18 million of those cases are right here in the United States. Also two-thirds of the people who suffer from depression never seek treatment, according to facts listed on the TWLOHA website.
Depression is not something that is not freely talked about. This is something TWLOHA would like to change.
“We hope we have had an impact on the way that depression is talked about,” said a spokesperson for TWLOHA said in an e-mail.
TWLOHA is all about knowing the facts and getting the awareness of difficult subjects out there. The organization uses the music scene to help make their cause known, by having the members of the band simply wear the T-shirts.
“We believe in songs, you know, that songs can be significant, that music reminds us that we’re alive,” said Tworkowski in an interview with John Norris, an MTV reporter.
TWLOHA will be starting a tour of 16 cities in January entitled, Heavy and Light. This tour will feature different musical acts and talking about the issues. For information check the TWLOHA website.