Chloe Grabanski, the Benefit Coordinator for To Write Love On Her Arms, took time out of her busy schedule to chat with The Dead Hub in Chicago about the non-profit organization that she works for and is currently promoting on The Bamboozle Roadshow. TWLOHA has recently exploded on the college campus scene. It 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 invest directly into treatment and recovery. The organization was started by Jamie Tworkowski as an attempt to tell a story and help a friend.
Read our interview with To Write Love On Her Arms after the jump…
Chloe was an intern for TWLOHA and eventually that internship turned into a full-time job. She manages the TWLOHA Street Team, serves as Benefit Coordinator, handles mail and donations, trains incoming interns, and works events. Chloe wears many different admirable hats for the organization. In addition to her workload, Chloe is currently pursuing a degree in Communications from the University of North Dakota.
In your group vision, you reference God. Although it is not your main focus in your mission, have you ever found this to cause conflict or has it proved to be a helpful tool when reaching out to others?
Jamie [Tworkowski], the founder of To Write Love on Her Arms, is a Christian. Therefore, the group does have some Christian undertones. However, it is an all-inclusive group that is very inviting to everyone. TWLOHA does not want to be seen as a Christian organization.
You have a strong collegiate presence. How have you been able to spread so quickly and effectively, establishing a presence through TWLOHA clubs?
We hold U Chapter conferences that representatives from colleges attend in order to set up their own TWLOHA club chapters on their campuses. These conferences are very intensive and encompass a lot of learning in order to properly prepare students to successfully start their chapters.
People on my campus seem to support TWLOHA actively on Facebook, but not through participation of the club or through the events on campus. How do you fight/handle these drawbacks?
Our social media presence is not administered by anyone affiliated within TWLOHA headquarters. Though we are very supportive of the movement and thankful for the positive backing of TWLOHA by others. The Internet has been huge for us. Social media has been a way for us to be present in all communities. It is also up to the TWLOHA U Chapters to create the buzz about TWLOHA around campus.
You talk about how depression relates to people of all nationalities, races, ethnicities, etc. How do you translate your efforts to other soils?
There is a huge need and want for a strong TWLOHA presence in Europe. We currently have two reps in the United Kingdom; however, our goal right now is to concentrate on the needs and wants on American soil. TWLOHA is currently based in Florida, an hour drive from Orlando. Jamie is attempting to start up offices in New York City, though those efforts are very hard to support financially.
Where does your funding come from?
Merchandise sales and donations have been the two biggest contributors to our funding. All of the money earned goes straight back into the program. We also have a street team responsible for raising money at events and on concert tours such as this one, The Bamboozle Roadshow.
You have hefty goals. What are you doing to stimulate these efforts?
It depends on the situation. We want people to know that we are there to help.
How have you made TWLOHA stand out against other non-profit organizations?
All in all, it is the way that you say things and present your mission that helps you to stand out against other organizations. We invite everyone in and want to properly represent them. We ask the questions: What do you want us to say? What is the message you want to hear?
Some people are turned away from getting help because of the costs (prescription medicine, therapy, counseling sessions). How do you handle these issues?
There are scholarships available, although they are not really advertised. All we want is that if someone has a problem, they find someone they can trust and then talk about it.
*Chloe Grabanski from To Write Love On Her Arms was interviewed by Kate Jacobsen and Jennifer Boyer from The Dead Hub