Many believe that music has a strong healing power, but rarely is it seen in a concrete way. Nonprofit organization To Write Love On Her Arms has changed that by providing a way for musicians and music fans to come together in a fight against addiction, suicide, depression and self-injury.
The foundation began with a true story written by founder Jamie Tworkowski. The story chronicled the struggles of his friend Renee Yohe, and how her friends joined together to help her when she was denied admittance to rehab. Part of their strategy to help heal Renee was to bring her to concerts, so it’s no surprise that TWLOHA are present at many a concert and music festival.
We caught up with Director of Communications/Benefit Coordinator Chloe Grabinski at Bamboozle 2012 to chat about the foundation’s newest campaign and what they plan to do with the million dollars they were recently awarded by CHASE Community Giving.
OS: This is your fifth year at Bamboozle—how has your weekend been?
CG: It’s been so great. It’s been good to see a lot of familiar faces, a lot of our friends are playing. Our Fears vs. Dreams campaign has been huge and the response has been great. We love The Bamboozle!
OS: Tell us about your Fears vs. Dreams campaign and how it’s been going.
CG: We started it last year at Warped Tour. We’re inviting people to share with us what their biggest fear and greatest dream are. We do that in a few ways: we’ve got these cards they can fill out, or we have them write it on a whiteboard and then take a portrait of it.
OS: The foundation was recently awarded a $1 million grant from CHASE. What are the plans for that money?
CG: We’ve got a bunch of different things we’re using it for, including treatment and recovery, some counseling scholarships, we’ve been doing a lot of site visits to other organizations and nonprofits so we can build a relationship to have them be a referral and so we can donate to them. We launched our Hope Goes Surfing campaign, which is our attempt to bring our message to the surfing community. And then it’s also going to programs we already have, like our Storytellers high school campaign, university chapters, our Move Community conferences, doing more events…it’s going to a lot of places. It’s allowing us to do so much more.
OS: In the original story, music is shown to have a healing power for Renee. How does TWLOHA continue to connect with the music scene?
CG: We’ve been really fortunate to have so many artists want to support us because music is something that transcends all stereotypes; people can connect to from all different walks of life. With us, it started very much from the beginning and it’s just grown from there. Now, we have artists all the time that are asking, “Can I get a shirt? Can I wear your shirt?” because they want to bring our message to their fans. They want their fans to know that if they’re going through something, there’s somebody out there [they] can talk to. [They're] not alone.
OS: The TWLOHA shirts were originally printed to help pay for Renee’s treatment. Where do the shirt profits go now?
CG: The primary way we’re funded is through the sale of our merchandise, so all of the proceeds are directly given to fund what we do…our programs, our events, everything!
Aside from donating, how can people offer their support to this foundation?
CG: They can go to TWLOHA.com/move; there are a bunch of ways you can help. If you’re in college, you can start a university chapter or join one, if it’s at your campus. If you’re in high school, we have the Storytellers campaign that you can do for a semester!