Ypulse Interview: Jamie Tworkowski, To Write Love On Her Arms

Jamie TworkowskiToday’s Ypulse Interview is with our 2010 Ypulse Youth Marketing Mashup Community Keynote speaker Jamie Tworkowski. Jamie is the founder of To Write Love on Her Arms, a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with addiction, depression, self-injury and suicide. Jamie has been traveling for speaking engagements this past month, so I caught up with him over email to hear about the origins of TWLOHA and what Mashup attendees can learn from his experience with at-risk teens. Register today and qualify for Early Adopter Rates!

Ypulse: What inspired you to start To Write Love On Her Arms? How did it grow from an initial idea to the community that it is today?

Jamie Tworkowski: It began as an attempt to help a friend and tell a story. In 2006, I met a girl who was struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and had attempted suicide. She was denied entry into a treatment center and spent the next five days with my friends and me in Orlando. I wrote a story about that experience (called “To Write Love on Her Arms”), posted it as a blog on MySpace and started selling t-shirts as a way to help pay for her treatment. There was no intention of starting a non-profit - I was just hoping to help a friend. But some friends in bands started to wear the shirts and so they got out in front of people beyond our community in Central Florida. From there, it spread really quickly with friends telling friends and other bands lending their support. Messages started to pour in from people asking for help or how to help their friends or how they could get involved. Basically, from then to now, we’ve continued to respond to those messages - more than 150,000 since 2006 - and we’ve done our best to be creative in inviting people into a conversation about hope…

 
 

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“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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