Anderson University is taking yet another step in reaching out to the diverse student body on campus. AU has become involved with an organization called To Write Love On Her Arms. It’s a non-profit movement dedicated to creating hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. However, this organization would be nowhere if it was not for the passionate men and women who stand behind the cause.
Recently, TWLOHA has started a new outreach program call “UChapter.” A total of 14 colleges across the nation are representing the organization. UChapters can organize gatherings, cultivate awareness, and create a network that actively raises funds and reaches people with a message of hope and help on every individual campus that participates. AU is one of those colleges attempting to address the pressing issues that are labeled taboo.
AU hosted a TWLOHA UChapter event called Lyrics and Conversation in the spring semester. The evening consisted of music pertinent to the topic and conversation between the musicians, speaker and the crowd. It was an intimate gathering of people who shared similar experiences or who were just curious about TWLOHA. Lauris Vidal, Andy Zipf and Damion Suomi played music that spoke to the soul of each person in the room, and Jason Blades initiated conversation that struck a chord in the hearts of those who heard.
In the midst of the sadness of the topic, still there is hope and passion for the cause and for change. Branden Holder, an AU junior and co-director of the AU chapter of TWLOHA, said his passion for the organization comes out of personal experiences. “Some of my friends have been really affected by TWLOHA. Knowing I can be a potential agent of change…a symbol of hope for someone who feels like all hope is lost…that’s where my passion lies. This is my ministry.”
Chris Bourgea, an AU senior, also shares a similar passion for the organization; however, he has another way of fueling that passion…with tea. His company, BourgeaTEA, is creating teas specially designed for the TWLOHA organization. “Depression is often overlooked because people will say those who are depressed have a low self-esteem or just want attention,” said Bourgea. “Depression is real and is a disease with a cure. This is where my passion and desire to raise awareness for TWLOHA comes into effect. People who suffer from depression need to know that there is help and that rescue is possible.”
TWLOHA, as a movement, exists to encourage, inform, inspire and to invest directly into treatment and recovery. Through community, there is hope and recovery. The artists and speaker ended the evening on a positive note, telling the audience how they could become more involved and become part of something bigger. With words of encouragement and wisdom for all who have struggled with what TWLOHA stands to change, one of the artists closed the show: “We cannot only make it, but we can live and we can thrive.”
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.