Although many students at first aren’t too crazy about the area the school is in, Melbourne has a lot to offer in terms of entertainment and culture. So even though many students call the town Mel-boring, I however, love this cute little town that has so much to offer no matter what your interests or hobbies are. For example, a few months ago, two of my best girlfriends and I attended a red carpet movie premier at the movie theater that’s closest to campus! We saw the hometown premiere screening of the To Write Love on Her Arms Movie, and the night was so much better than anything I had expected.
“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 invest directly into treatment and recovery.”
This awesome organization was founded by Jamie Tworkowski in 2006 in order to help his friend Renee Yohe who was struggling with self-harm and addiction. He began by simply sharing her story on Myspace in hopes that others would find hope and comfort from it, and would encourage others who need it to seek help. Then the organization began selling their now iconic shirts at music festivals in order to help Renee pay for rehab, and then eventually to fund the organization’s success.
I fell in love with this organization when I was 15 years old, a sophomore in high school. I had a friend severely struggling with depression and self-harm, and this was a very helpful tool not only to help her, but also help those who were lending out the help like myself and other friends. This organization also really helped me overcome some big obstacles back then. To this day, I still strongly believe in and support its cause, and I was so excited to hear that there was going to be a movie made out of it, starring Kat Dennings and Chad Michael Murray (which I love both actors, of course!).
And as it turns out, Tworkowski and Yohe are from the Melbourne area. They grew up here, and the TWLOHA headquarters are no more than half an hour from campus. That is why they decided to have a red carpet premiere event at the town’s movie theater.
The experience itself was amazing, and honestly, 15-year-old me never thought 21-year-old me would ever meet the founder of the organization and the girl behind the story. The night began with a red carpet by the doors of the theater, where guests could take photos and meet Jamie Tworkowski and even buy some TWLOHA merchandise from one of the booths around. Then after getting into the theater room, Renee Yohe performed a lovely acoustic set of some of her song from her recent EP, self-title Bearcat. Afterwards, a brief introduction to the movie was given, and the movie played. At the end, there was a Q&A session with Jamie and Renee where attendees could ask anything about the movie, the organization, or anything else.
One of the best parts, in my opinion, was when my friends and I were speaking right before the movie started, and the man sitting next to us began answering personal questions about Chad Michael Murray and Jamie Tworkowski. After a few seconds of us looking confused and skeptical, his wife introduced the two of them as Mr. and Mrs. Tworkowsi. Here I was, sitting next to the parents of the man who created this huge movement, about to watch the movie about it all. It was certainly a once in a lifetime night!
So no matter what any other student says, don’t believe them when they say this town is boring. If he or she is bored, then they are not looking hard enough! There is so much to do, and there are always surprises left and right, but you won’t find them if you’re just sitting indoors all day. So whenever you have free time from classes, go explore! Until next time, Panthers!