Surfer to Savior: Jamie Tworkowski, Founder of To Write Love on Her Arms

I must be in the wrong demo because I’d never heard of TWLOHA, but it’s actually massive and seemingly totally righteous. Allison Glock profiles founder Jamie Tworkowski for Rolling Stone:

It’s just past noon in Atlanta, where the Warped Tour is in full swing, but already Jamie Tworkowski has hugged 79 people, posed for 56 photographs, signed 42 autographs, blotted the tears of 13 young girls (and two teenage boys), and heard the words “you saved my life” at least a dozen times. He has seen phrases he wrote tattooed on torsos and legs, held a woman’s hand while she wept for her dead son, and shared his cherry sno-cone with a stranger who proclaims he wants to be just like Tworkowski — “just so fucking righteous, man!”

Tworkowski, a 29-year-old surfer dude and college dropout, has become a new kind of guru to a generation of troubled teenagers, the father of an accidental movement, if one believes in accidents, which Tworkowski does not. His message is pretty standard-issue savior — touchy-feely, vaguely Christian, mixed with industrial-strength empathy — but his delivery is radically different from the usual feel-your-pain smarm so common among the self-help crowd. He’s disarmingly sincere, surfer-handsome and so completely, unequivocally genuine that he can turn the most jaded, eye-rolling, authority-questioning anarchist into a quivering, weeping supplicant. The organization he founded three years ago, To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), already boasts the largest audience of any nonprofit on MySpace, deluged with more than 100,000 messages — many of them suicide notes — from kids in more than 100 countries. If you are a bulimic cheerleader, a loner with violent thoughts, a pretty goth girl who likes to make like Lindsay and draw a sharp blade across your arm, chances are that the shrinks and guidance counselors you’ve been sent to see will strike you as full of shit. Tworkowski is the one person who’ll get through to you — through Twitter or Facebook or a rock concert or, if you’re lucky, with an old-fashioned hug…

[continues in Rolling Stone]

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