TWLOHA-Open Arms

Written by on June 26, 2014 in Book Reviews, Interviews, June 26, 2014 - Comments Off on TWLOHA-Open Arms

Photo by Jesse Lopez

TWLOHA-Open ArmsIn today’s society we have more avenues of help then we did ten years ago. People are becoming less afraid to reach out, yet there are still those who don’t know who or where to turn. That’s where To Write Love on Her Arms steps to the plate. TWLOHA was founded in Orlando in 2006 as a story about a friend who was hurting herself by founder Jamie Tworkowski. In an effort to help continue this avenue of confirmation organization, I spoke with Chad Moses, music and events coordinator for TWLOHA.

AAM: For those who aren’t familiar with your organization, what do you feel are the key points people should know about you?

CM: First and foremost we’re a non-profit organization, were called To Write Love on Her Arms, and we’re out there to present hope and to find help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. We exist to encourage, to inspire, to inform, and also to invest financially into avenues for treatment and recovery.

AAM: Awesome. Now outside of music festivals and the music scene, what other avenues do you reach out to?

CM: So we try to…well all of our programs are to create honest conversations around issues that honestly don’t get talked about. So music and events that’s my world and my buddy Jason’s world as well, but we only make up a small fraction of all that goes on with TWLOHA. So we’re very active in high schools. We call those campaigns Storyteller campaigns; we have many dozens of universities that have official chapters on their campuses. We are very present online and we’re one of the most followed non-profits on the internet. We’re also doing speaking gigs around the globe all the time. So music the reason we do music is because a lot of people show up to music events and we wanna be where the people naturally come together. We just wanna be where you are.

AAM: Now specifically I know you guys touched it on your website, but Bullying is a hot button topic. What do you tell the kids that are too afraid to speak out because they’ve been ingrained with the idea speaking out is a weakness?

CM: It’s funny I don’t remember bullying being talked about anywhere near as much as when I was a kid. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, and I don’t even know if it means it’s necessarily worse today than it was a while back. But maybe there is some hope in that it is being talked about. At the end of the day the issues that we’re really fighting against is here we’re not fighting depression, we’re not fighting bullying, and we’re not fighting addiction or self-injury. We’re fighting for your life, we’re fighting for indignity, and we’re fighting for you being connected to other people. There’s been some really interesting research on bullying that the victim of bullying isn’t the only victim. Actually, the bullier, studies have shown a unique disability to connect with other people. They say bullying now is a faceless crime with the internet, but at the same time no one comes out ahead in this scenario. We’re kinda at a crossroads this is an old problem manifesting itself in a very new way, but at the heart of it, it’s always been about people and it’s always been about people not connecting in the best way possible. We bring it to the humanity of the issue.

AAM: So you would say your organization is really less about the issue and more about the person?

CM: Absolutely! You know when we started this project 8 years ago words that we thought were all encompassing: depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide, we’ve now kinda branched because our supporters have told us there are more things we could be doing for more people. We now fund treatment centers that treat eating disorders, PTSD and anxiety disorders. Really again it’s not so much about the issues it’s about the people that struggle.

AAM: So last question: Anybody who wants to be part of what you’re doing, what you recommend them doing to get started.

CM: Absolutely. First and foremost TWLOHA does not claim any sense exclusivity with these issues; we don’t care how you decide to make a splash in your community or what banner you operate under as long as you are being there for other people. If you’re curious about what we do and want to know how to be a part of our campaigns and some of our events you can go to twloha.com. There you can find our events page, and spoke to get involved.