To Write Love On Her Arms' Blog

TWLOHA Experience At Vans Warped Tour 2012

Hello Everyone,

Here is yet another incredible Warped Tour Experience story from our lovely volunteer Barry:

Warped Tour is hot.

But no matter how unbearable the heat may be, it has become tradition for many of us. From packing our backpacks with water and sunscreen, to road tripping with friends, to finally meeting your favorite musicians, Warped Tour is the summer event that makes the “week from hell” irrelevant as soon as that band starts playing your summer anthem. 

For years, I walked past the gates and weaved through the crowds to the beat of the surrounding stages. But this year, I was able to interact with my St. Louis peers in a new and exciting way. I was reunited with some great friends and spent the day under the To Write Love on Her Arms tent. Warped Tour looks entirely different from this point of view. I may not have been sharing high–fives with all of you in front of the stage, competing to be heard over the distorted guitars, or making my yearly dive through the giant slip-and-slide, but this year was the most memorable yet. Being able to meet new people, share meaningful conversations, and see all of your smiles and tears made the 100-degree weather feel like a needed vacation from my air-conditioned life. 

The heat may not have been comfortable, but the company that gathered at the tent was more than refreshing. As the Fears vs. Dreams cards piled up, I began to realize how powerful the act of writing down your secrets can be. It is OK to admit your broken parts—bring them to the surface, place them on a table, and leave them as you walk to the next stage. I watched people arrive at the tent with their pain and leave with the hope that tomorrow will bring a blank slate.

Being able to volunteer for just one day of Warped Tour gave me a breath of fresh (humid) air and filled my heart with love and respect for those who make every date of Warped possible. It felt suitable to be able to give back to a city I grew up in, a festival that introduced me to community, and an organization that has shown me hope time and time again. 

After the tents were torn down, I watched as a massive crowd gathered at the main stage for Rise Against’s first show on the tour. Tim McIlrath took the time to announce that this day wasn’t about anything for sale at the tents, but rather about us as individuals, as music lovers, as people with the power to make a difference. This day wasn’t about money or endorsements. This day was about leaving your fears at the gates and gathering with the hope that this feeling can last forever. It’s about taking that one day of empowerment and extending it into the coming days.

Warped Tour is hot, yes, but hope is refreshing.

 

TWLOHA Experience At Vans Warped Tour 2012

Hey guys, 

Just like you have seen in previous posts, we have had volunteers share their experiences with you from when they volunteer at Vans Warped Tour. Here is Katie's story:

The Vans Warped Tour has always been an event I’m in love with. The rawness of the outside venue parallels the authentic connection everyone has to the music playing on stage. This was my fourth year attending the tour—but this time I was picked to volunteer for the To Write Love on Her Arms tent, and I knew it would be totally different.

TWLOHA has been in my life since I first saw Bayside in concert almost five years ago. There was a merch booth at the show, and I instantly felt a connection with what they stood for. I still have my “Love is the Movement” shirt in my closet.

This year, when I met Jason at the gate in the morning, it felt unlike any of the previous Warped experiences. I was there representing not just any organization, but one that has sincerely helped so many people, including myself, talk about the darkness of depression and the reality of recovery. I was about to stand behind the table I had walked up to so many times before.

I was extremely nervous, no doubt about that. But as people began approaching us, I realized I was seeing a bit of myself in each of them, even those who had never heard of TWLOHA. I felt great comfort from this feeling of connectedness, knowing that the table covered in T-shirts I now stood behind supported people and represented kindness and genuine care. It didn’t matter if one was a frequent visitor of Warped Tour or a first timer; we were all there for the same things. Stripped of the different make-up, hair, or clothes we were wearing, we were all just… people.

I was reminded of just how personally I had been influenced by TWLOHA when I went to watch The Used on the main stage. I hadn’t listened to their music in years, but when ‘Take it Away’ came on I remembered why. I had flashbacks of blaring that song in my bedroom alone when I was upset and self-harming many years before. It was a dark time. I didn’t really talk to anyone because it was uncomfortable and I was embarrassed in a lot of ways.

But there I was, five years later, hearing the song while on my break from the TWLOHA tent.

I went back to the tent feeling proud of myself. I had moved past that part of my life, and I was now in a position to help others the way those late night Myspace blogs had helped me years ago. TWLOHA had made me feel safe about talking about my addictions. 

The whole experience came full circle when Bayside was playing on the stage closest to the TWLOHA tent. It’s hard to fully explain the feelings that ran through me during their set—but I think the best part was that I was feeling at all. I had become disconnected with much of my life, and I hadn’t really had the chance to just feel what was going on around me. TWLOHA has always been a kind of anchor for me, a reminder of the compassion people can have toward another. It harbors me to trust people and let them in, so I don’t drown in my own thoughts. That compassion was apparent throughout the entire day, regardless of the rain or heat or whatever else Houston threw at us.

Volunteering with TWLOHA at Warped Tour has only reminded me of what kindness and caring really mean to people. I hope that even during the cruel and harsh times of life, I can remember the bravery of each person I spoke to at that tent.

TWLOHA On Vans Warped Tour: A Community Of Music

Hey All, 

Here is another amazing volunteer story by our lovely friend Abi!



Music has always been a dear friend of mine. It has gotten me through some of the darkest moments of my story—and it has also been there to celebrate the lighter times.

This summer, I had the opportunity to help out at Vans Warped Tour in Holmdel, NJ, volunteering for a nonprofit I previously interned for called To Write Love on Her Arms. As I am originally from the United Kingdom, this was my first exposure to Warped Tour, and I have to say, I have never experienced anything like it.

I woke up on July 13, filled with nerves and excitement; I did not know what to expect. All I knew was I was going to be meeting a lot of TWLOHA supporters, and it was going to be a very hot day. I walked through the gates and entered a new community, one that had been travelling across the nation since June 16 in the name of music. As I watched so many bands, organizations, charities, and vendors set up for the day, the nerves began to kick in stronger. I wasn’t sure I was going to have the courage to talk to too many people.

My nerves were soon conquered. At 11 AM, the gates were opened, and people from across the globe and of every age began pouring through the gates. The excitement on each person’s face was refreshing. Thousands had now entered this unique community. Like the rest of us, they were there because of music.

Meeting hundreds of TWLOHA supporters was surreal. So many people came to the booth, showing their TWLOHA tattoos and giving thanks for everything we had done for them. It was surreal because I am a supporter too. TWLOHA has helped me so much, and interning with them was my way of giving back to a group of people who helped me live my life again. I might have been behind the booth, but I too was a supporter, thanking TWLOHA for everything they had done for me.

I am a wallflower; I tend not to do well in crowds. But at Warped Tour, I talked to anyone who came to the booth. The heat and humidity made my hair frizzy, and I had eyeliner sweating down my face, but it didn’t matter. We were all sweating, we were all hot messes, and we were all having a great time.

Through the bands, charities, and nonprofits I met on Warped Tour, I was reminded of such good in the world. I was reminded of all the people and organizations dedicated to making this world a better place. It is comforting to know we are not alone, and we have voices to speak up and help others—and ultimately, ourselves.

Volunteering at Vans Warped Tour was like hanging out with your friends, but by the thousands. The big crowds became our home for the day, and we shut the gate on our day-to-day lives to fully embrace a community of creativity, expression, and love. We were all there because we have all been touched by music and the community that comes along with it.

TWLOHA Experience At Vans Warped Tour 2012

About a year ago, I set out to Ventura and made my way through the crowd to the gates of my very first Vans Warped Tour experience. Once inside, I eagerly approached the To Write Love on Her Arms tent. I took a few photos, bought a shirt, and wrote down my greatest fear and greatest dream on a tiny, white notecard. 

Five days later, I found out I would be joining the TWLOHA team myself. I had been accepted into the intern program in Florida for the fall term.

Talking about TWLOHA was something we did every single day as interns, and tabling and selling merch at events was a very common occurrence. However, I've been back in school in California for the last six months, and my daily routine is much different from what it was last fall. I no longer sit at the office every day reading supporters' messages and stories, pouring my heart into long responses. I am no longer a confidant of people I have never met who find comfort in the anonymity of an email. I no longer get to hear or read people's stories of how they are searching, finding, or trusting in hope. And I miss it. I miss the conversations that would naturally happen as a part of that job.

Now, six months after the end of my internship, I got to jump back into the TWLOHA life for a day as a Warped Tour volunteer. Being at Warped Tour Ventura this past weekend gave me a chance to be a part of those conversations again—a chance to listen, a reminder of why my heart continues to grow for this organization and for the people who find hope through a STORY that happened six years ago.

I spoke to a counselor who had recently lost a young patient to suicide. I met a supporter who came to us in infinite gratitude for helping someone very dear to him through a hard time. I heard about a girl whose high school had lost six students to suicide this past year. I witnessed people share their fears and their dreams with us. I saw a girl come up to thank us for helping her through her personal struggles. I listened to stories of pain, relationships, brokenness, healing, recovery, and hope.

It might be hard to imagine how a day of short conversations can carry so much weight, but it meant something to me. It reminded me that we are made for community; we are made to listen, to share, and to care for one another in love. When these conversations happen, we throw away our masks and open up our hearts. We overlook façades and focus on the truth. 

I began to consider that perhaps our purpose is to be more vulnerable. After all, we all share fears, dreams, hope, and pain. They intertwine among us like roots in a dense forest. Underneath each of us, we find all of us.

Maybe our purpose is found in having a quick conversation with a stranger or exchanging smiles as people walk past. Maybe it is for the guy who came to our tent late Sunday afternoon to let us know how much we had encouraged someone he loved. Maybe it is for the girl who is hiding her scars as she walks up to us. Maybe it is reading through the Fears vs. Dreams notecards and finding how much we all connect—a reminder that we are not alone. Maybe it is sharing with our communities a little bit of that joy we've found in hope.

Maybe our purpose is letting people know their stories matter—and we want to listen.

–Raquel

Bracket Standings as of 3/19

With March coming to a close soon we wanted to update you on the bracket standings. This is not a complete list, however as many schools were not able to begin until March. With 139 schools for the Spring 2012 term, over $17,000 has already been raised for TWLOHA. You guys are amazing!!

As a thank you (and an incentive) for participating in The Storytellers, the top fundraising school in each bracket will be awarded a TWLOHA event (video presentation, TWLOHA staff speaker, and musician) at absolutely no cost.

BRACKET 1
Putnam County High School ($1,249.15)
AlWood High School ($316)
Udall High School ($190.75)

BRACKET 2
North Mac High School ($385)
St. Elizabeth High School ($262.75)
Western Reserve Academy ($145)

BRACKET 3
Coopersville High School ($1,353)
Woodland Regional High School ($721.09)
Hendersonville High School ($525)

BRACKET 4
Waterloo West High School ($1231.44)
Dallastown Area High School ($800)
Highland High School ($750)
Eau Gallie High School ($720)
Alexandria Senior High School ($598)

BRACKET 5
Mountain Vista High School ($547)
Buchholz High School ($345)
Scranton High School ($310)

BRACKET Canada
W.R. Myers High School ($400.25)
Delta Secondary School ($160)

If you are not one of the above schools, don't let the numbers discourage you!! Use them as motivation to keep spreading the message, and raising funds for TWLOHA. Every dollar you raise helps us continue to fight the stigma associated with mental health and also to invest in treatment and recovery by doing things like setting up counseling scholarships. But don't miss the heart and the point of this campaign. We wanted The Storytellers to be in high schools so students could know hope and help are very real things. We want you getting to know your classmates, breaking down barriers and having fun. If you need motivation or simply want to share what you've been working on with the other organizers that's what this group is here for!! Additionally, there will also be special acknowledgement for Biggest Individual Fundraiser, Most Active School, Most Creative and Best Use of Online Media presented by Buzznet. Thank you, thank you for all you have done for The Storytellers. We are so appreciative and continue to be inspired by all of you.

With Hope,
Chloe

C.J. Hobgood + ESPN Interview.

"With TWLOHA, we're trying to do something that feels really different and really important. I'm taking a chance on them and they're taking a chance on me, but it's because we believe we have the chance to build something pretty

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How the little things can help those battling depression.

Time after time we've used the phrase "it's the little things" to describe the joy we can find in trivial things like having a friend know how you like a perfect cup of coffee, a stranger holding the door open

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CJ Hobgood + Eastern Surf interview.

"It seemed so much bigger than me or Jamie or TWLOHA, so we just said, 'Let’s take a risk. Let’s do this. Let’s go.'" READ MORE HERE

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Life Back Home: Female Veterans and PTSD



With the rising number of women in the military experiencing combat

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TWLOHA joining The Cab / The Summer Set Tour

In 2010 we shared a bus with The Summer Set on Vans Warped Tour. Now we're excited to announce we're heading back on the road with them and The Cab on their co-headlining tour this January and February. All 28

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  • Member Since: 2011-01-17

About Me:

To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.