“To Write Love On Her Arms”

After reading the following description of “TWLOHA,” please take just a few short moments to navigate to the right-side of your screen and click the “TWLOHA” SocialVibe™ link, complete a handful of short questionnaires and help accumulate ‘minutes’ which will be used by online-interventionists to assist those who are suffering from bouts of depression and can’t seem to find a way out.  I’d personally appreciate it very much, as I’m sure those who are dealing with these issues on a daily basis would also!  Thanks!  RB

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To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA; TWLOHA’s Official Website) is an American non-profit organizationwhich aims to present hope for people struggling with addiction, depression, self injury and thoughts of suicide. Based in Cocoa, Florida, TWLOHA seeks to connect people to treatment centers,websites, books, support groups, and other resources. TWLOHA also encourages people to have honest conversations about these issues, to live in community, and to seek help for these treatable conditions, as well as encourage people to turn to God as made evident in their many appearances and presentations made at Christian events and from their references to Christ and God on their Vision page of their website.

A large portion of the work is dedicated to bridging the gap between traditional treatment (i.e. rehab, counseling, helplines) and the lives of people who need help. Examples of this include music festivals and tours, social networking sites, and schools and universities.Wanting to support existing professional help organizations rather than replace them, TWLOHA also sends a portion of donations directly to such causes as Hopeline, InTheRooms.com, S.A.F.E. Alternatives, Minding Your Mind, and (in Australia) Kids Help Line.

The group’s main exposure comes from musicians and bands who wear the organization’s distinctive T-shirts in photographs and performances, however it has recently gained more and more public exposure through merchandise and public community websites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and Tumblr. TWLOHA had a booth at every stop at Vans Warped Tour for the past four years.

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TWLOHA was founded by Jamie Tworkowski in March 2006. Prior to that, the seeds of the group were sown by a story written by Tworkowski, about 19-year-old Renee Yohe, who struggled with addiction, depression, self-injury, and attempted suicide. Tworkowski’s story, written in February 2006, chronicles Yohe’s life five days before she entered treatment. Unable to get Yohe checked into a treatment centre in the meantime, friends offered moral support.

“We become her hospital and the possibility of healing fills our living room with life. It is unspoken and there are only a few of us, but we will be her church, the body of Christ coming alive to meet her needs, to write love on her arms.”

On the FAQ for TWLOHA’s official website, it stated that Renee has finished rehab and is currently going to school in Florida. It also states that she is healthy and sober, although she’ll have to fight her addiction for the rest of her life.

In addition to the story, T-shirts were printed and sold in Orlando to fund Yohe’s drug treatment, and a MySpace page was created to serve as home base for the project. Bands such as Anberlin and Switchfoot showed their support and began wearing the TWLOHA T-shirts right away, and TWLOHA’s MySpace and Facebook page began to receive messages and comments from young people struggling with the same issues that Yohe faced. What began as an attempt to help one person in Orlando quickly generated wide interest – to date, TWLOHA has heard from young people in all 50 states as well as many from Canada, Mexico, Australia and the United Kingdom, among others.

TWLOHA began operating as a non-profit organization in October 2006 under the umbrella of Fireproof Ministries. On April 30, 2007, TWLOHA left Fireproof and TWLOHA, Inc. was established in Florida as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. TWLOHA uses a team of part-time help and volunteers to respond to the growing volume of MySpace messages and emails.The group recently leased an office in Cocoa, Florida, which will allow them to expand.In August 2007, TWLOHA was awarded a MySpace Impact Award in the Community Building category.

TWLOHA cut all ties and funding to Mercy Ministries, and Teen Challenge in 2008 after discovering their alleged mistreatment of patients. TWLOHA’s support of the LGBT community is evident on their website. They participated in the “Wear Your Purple” Day and have promoted the ITGETSBETTER Campaign.

September 10–17 has been called “TWLOHA Week” and many write “LOVE” on their arms during that week, sharing the story of hope with others.However, there are some regions that observe this day on November 13.

Love is the Movement“, “Rescue is Possible“, “Hope is real, Help is real” and “Stop the Bleeding” are slogans often used by the organization. “Stop the Bleeding” is the slogan TWLOHA uses for live events, which combine music, art and speaking.

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In early 2009, TWLOHA partnered with Kristin Brooks Hope Center to create IMAlive. IMAlive will be the first ever online crisis counseling over instant messenger staffed by people 100% trained and certified in crisis intervention. TWLOHA won $125,000 for IMAlive.

In November 25, 2009, Rolling Stone magazine featured an article about TWLOHA.On November 12, 2009, Jamie invited anyone in the NYC area to join in on the photo-shoot in Washington Square Park. The photo was taken by Peter Yang who later commented after the shoot that this was the largest group of subjects he’d photographed to date and declined to answer when asked to compare the TWLOHA shoot with the Obama photo shoot.

At the end of 2009, organization founder Jamie Tworkowski received mtvU’s Good Woodie Award, which is given to artists whose commitment to a social cause has “effected the greatest change this year”.

In October 2010, TWLOHA was part of a piece on CBS Morning News about preventing The Youngest Suicides.

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TWLOHA has risen to prominence through endorsements of celebrities such as the bands Skillet, Boys Like Girls, OneRepublic, the members of Paramore, Jon Foreman from Switchfoot, Sean from The Blackout, Derek Sanders from Mayday Parade, Deon Rexroat from Anberlin, Amy Lee from Evanescence, Bryce Avary from The Rocket Summer, Miley Cyrus, Casey Calvert from Hawthorne Heights, Kevin Skaff from A Day To Remember, Sam Boyd of samspeaks.net and Brendon Urie and Ryan Ross from Panic at the Disco and has a growing loyal fan base.

Other supportive bands – even in other countries worldwide, such as Fresno, from Brazil – and musicians include A Skylit Drive, Between the Trees who wrote two song about Renee Yohe, “A Time For Yohe“, as well as the song “The Way She Feels“. The Rocket Summer, Fireflight, The Almost, Underoath, Bayside, As We Collide, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Skillet with the song “The Last Night“, Mat Kearney, and many more.

Over 739,950 fans on Facebook since being added to the application as of TWLOHA Day 2009 (November 13, 2009). In addition, Facebook groups for TWLOHA have increased three-fold since early 2007, with nearly 50,000 Facebook users associating themselves with groups related to the organization. Additionally, the “Love Is The Movement” project, although separate to the actual organization, had more than 380,000 members who dedicated themselves to writing “LOVE” on their arms and sharing the message of the organization on November 13, 2008—and any day thereafter.

YouTube celebrity Kevin Wu of KevJumba and JumbaFund created interest in this organization when he created JumbaFund, a YouTube channel where all proceeds go to a charity voted on by its viewers.Other YouTube celebrities such SwiftKarateChop (Matthew Brian Brown) have also began supporting this organization.

In 2006, bands like Switchfoot have been on tour in support of this organization. The Up In Arms Tour has been across America spreading awareness of instances of depression and suicide amongst young people in attempt to be an agent of change to those suffering and those affected by these issues.

On September 12, 2008, To Write Love on Her Arms was featured on the NBC Nightly News segment “Making a Difference“.

The TWLOHA Spring 2010 UChapters Tour, “Evenings of Lyrics and Conversation,” features music by Damion Suomi, Andy Zipf, and Lauris Vidal.

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NOTICE: The contents of this column are solely gathered from Wikipedia’s “To Write Love On Her Arms” piece. You can find all citations and sources listed on TWLOHA – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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