By Samantha Biastre
KUTZTOWN, Pa. – Jamie Tworkowski described To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) as the result of a response to a story. That story was of his friend Renee who was struggling with depression, self-injury and addiction and who was then denied entry into a rehab house in the spring of 2006. So Jamie and a couple of his other friends stayed with her for five days and during those five days Jamie wrote the story, later tilted “To Write Love on Her Arms”. Which he says was a “weird title but it felt right.” This organization was never meant to be a charity when it was started Jamie stated. It’s now a registered 501(c) (3) organization (non-profit organization). Jamie came and spoke at Kutztown on March 31, in Schaeffer Auditorium at 7 p.m. The event was free to the public and merchandise was sold after the event.
To get the word out about TWLOHA, Jamie published the story on a MySpace page to give it a home. T-shirts were then sold to help pay for Renee’s treatment. The first t-shirt ever was worn by Jon Foreman of Switchfoot, at one of Switchfoot’s concerts and as Jamie puts it “Everything took off from there.” The organization really did explode from that point on. An office was then rented out in Melbourne, Florida, and a huge internet presence was created on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and ext. They saw the “best of the internet” come out and thousands of people responding saying how much they could relate to Renee’s story.
The night opened up with music from Eric James from The Last Royals. Jamie said the main message that he wants people to take away from hearing him speak is that “It’s ok to be honest, and it’s ok to ask for help. Every person matters, every person is a living story, and every story needs to be heard.” He also stated that he “hopes you would leave tonight encouraged, having hope and realizing that questions matter and that our stories matter.” The night ended with a question and answer session with Jamie, Eric, and Eric’s wife Emily where students were able to open up about their struggles and get advice.
When asked how much of an impact he has seen TWLOHA have in the lives of others, Jamie stated, “It’s so great to hear others stories, about their growth and honesty and their hope in better days to come.”
Abby McVey, a Junior and Professional Writing major enjoyed the night very much. She said that, “I thought it was really interesting. The perspective that the speakers offered was cool.”