Jamie Tworkowski looked like he could have been pulled from the audience as he strolled across the stage to find the center. His loosely-tied gray shoes were a stark contrast to the snug black jeans he wore. White words written down the front of his shirt stood out against the black background. They read “at least we live tonight.”
To Write Love on Her Arms is Tworkowski’s non-profit organization that raises awareness of depression, suicide prevention, self-injury and a long list of other rarely discussed topics. On Nov. 22, students packed the O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium to hear STAR’s guest speaker.
The mostly-filled auditorium seemed to shrink as Tworkowski and his other guest, Denny Kolsch, spoke directly to the audience, turning a large hall into the illusion of a small living room.
“You guys are nice,” Tworkowski said, turning the silence in the room into laughter.
Tworkowski shared the importance of music in his life and in the organization, and invited Steven McMorran to play for the crowd.
The lead singer of the band Satellite shared music that had inspired Tworkowski’s organization. Shirts on sale in the lobby were printed with the words “at least we are alive,” lyrics from the band’s song “Ring the Bells.”
Following the performance, Tworkowski spoke to the crowd about the origin of his organization. The speech began with a news clip about the young woman who inspired Tworkowski. As the blue hue of the screen reflected off the crowd, Tworkowski sat off to the side waiting to begin.
“This thing happened by accident,” Tworkowski said. “It wasn’t meant to be a charity or a global phenomenon. It was an attempt to help a good friend.”
As Tworkoski roamed the edge of the stage, he shared his story about the development of his organization. Hand in his pocket, he stopped and made jokes, evoking laughter that would crackle and spread through the crowd. As Tworkowski reached the end of his story, the audience sat listening in silence.
As the event finished, the audience filed out into the lobby. The crowd waited for Tworkoski to arrive to talk with his listeners about the event, their stories or the weather.
Junior Matt Rahimi was clad in a white T-shirt with the foundation’s logo in black and blue. He has known about the foundation for three years and said he has waited for the opportunity to see Tworkowski speak.
“I myself have struggled with suicide and depression,” Rahimi said.
He also said he invited friends to see the event.
“It’s great to see it on campus,” he said.
Gina Dolski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.