Open arms: Story turned movement helps thousands

On Monday, April 18,To Write Love on Her Arms came to the College. (Matthew Mance/Staff Photographer)

Jamie Tworkowski may have been the main speaker of the night, but he had no trouble sitting with the audience while the opening act, Jared Gorbel of the Honorary Title, played a few songs first. With lyrics echoing throughout the auditorium, such as ‘I know life is so unfair,’ the music reflected the theme of the night and the movement that Tworkowski would be discussing a little while later.

On Monday, April 18, on the Kendall Hall main stage, the world-wide non-profit movement To Write Love on Her Arms came to the College in order to help spread awareness about how important it is to give hope to people who are struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide, and faith that they can find help when they need it the most.

“It’s really as simple as how do we move people, how do we be creative in presenting our message which is hope and help and community,” Tworkowski said.

Seen as more of an art project than a charity, Tworkowski explained how the movement first began as a story written about a friend’s struggle with addiction and self-injury. In February of 2006, in central Florida, Tworkowski met a girl named Renee through a friend. After hearing of the challenges she faced everyday with drugs, alcohol and cutting, Tworkowski helped her to seek the rehab that she needed. In the process, Tworkowski asked Renee if he could write her story down, and with consent, he moved forward with “To Write Love on Her Arms.”

According to Tworkowski, it was a story written to help her understand there was a “purpose for her pain,” and that maybe others would be able to relate and learn that a “better life is possible.”

With the help of MySpace and the alternative-rock bands Switchfoot and Anberlin, Tworkowski’s movement took off and gained followers from all over the country.

Today, TWLOHA has received messages from over 160,000 people from over 100 countries world-wide. Tworkowski and his team have collected and donated over $850,000 to treatment, as well.

“Being characters in our own stories can be lonely,” Tworkowski said. “People need other people. Maybe all of us have a lot more in common than we realize. We’re all human.”

For more information on the To Write Love on Her Arms movement and to find how you can get involved, go to TWLOHA.com.