Guest / Limited Access /
Suicide Mission
Andy Barron

One day, Jamie Tworkowski might hear from someone who decided not to commit suicide after seeking help from his nonprofit, To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA). The next day, he might speak at a memorial for a girl who took her own life, even after reaching out. "We never get used to stuff like that," says Tworkowski, "but I don't think we're supposed to. That stuff just breaks our hearts and reminds us what's at stake."

Tworkowski, 30, founded TWLOHA in early 2006 while helping a 19-year-old friend, Renee, who was struggling with addiction, depression, self-injury (she had written "F---Up" with a razor on her forearm), and attempted suicide. While Renee debated getting treatment, Tworkowski and other friends offered support; in the meantime, he wrote an essay, "To Write Love on Her Arms," addressing Renee's situation. The name stuck, T-shirts started selling, Christian bands (including Switchfoot) started spreading the word, and a movement was born. Since then, TWLOHA—partnering with the likes of Teen Challenge, S.A.F.E. Alternatives, and others—has responded to more than 150,000 people (many in crisis) and donated over $700,000 to treatment and recovery centers.

Question & Answer

Is TWLOHA a Christian organization?

No. The word Christian, in my opinion, has been abused and misrepresented. It's a label that alienates people. Jesus didn't come to establish a subculture; he came to heal the world. With TWLOHA, we are simply trying to let people know that they matter, that they're not alone in their struggles, and that hope and help are real.

How does your faith inform your work?

My faith is the lens I see the world through. I ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this IssueNew Limits on Religious Freedom
Subscriber Access Only New Limits on Religious Freedom
Discussion: Should Christians support laws that ban Muslim women from wearing the face veil in public?
RecommendedI’m a Woman Who Got Kicked Out of Women’s Bathrooms
I’m a Woman Who Got Kicked Out of Women’s Bathrooms
Our zealous policing of gender norms can have unintended and hurtful consequences.
TrendingWho’s Who of Trump’s ‘Tremendous’ Faith Advisers
Who’s Who of Trump’s ‘Tremendous’ Faith Advisers
The Republican candidate finally names his campaign’s evangelical connections.
Editor's PickFaith and the Arts: A Fragile Friendship
Faith and the Arts: A Fragile Friendship
Churchgoers are willing to embrace fine art, but artists don't know if they want to claim the church.
Christianity Today
Suicide Mission
hide thisNovember November

In the Magazine

November 2010

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.