In seventh grade I found out about an organization called To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) because of a song Between the Trees wrote. This song was called A Time for Yohe and it is all about a girl named Renee Yohe. Her story has changed the lives of thousands of people including mine.
When Renee was 19 she was addicted to hard-core drugs and alcohol, wrapped up in a tangled web of self-harm, and an insomniac who had not slept in 36 hours. A couple of friends tried to stage an intervention for her, but they failed. Renee did agree to go to rehab for help, but she was in such bad shape that the rehab facility told her to comeback in five days without fresh cuts or cocaine in her system. She didn’t know what to do. She was so screwed up that even rehab faculties would not take her because she was to “high risk”.
Some of the same friends that held the intervention went on lock-down with her for the five days. During the first couple of days she went through major withdraws and still wasn’t sleeping. Her friends stay with her though and made t-shirts to raise money for her treatment in rehab. Once the five days were up she returned to the rehab facility and was admitted for 90 days. While she was inside her friends continued to raise money for her treatment by making and selling t-shirts.
At some point in her rehabilitation Renee met the Lord and entered into a relationship with him. After becoming a Christian she said, “Tell them to look up, tell them to remember the stars.” By saying this she was referencing the heavens; she was saying to remember God and his creation. Even when you can't see the stars you know they are there.
One of these friends was Jamie Tworkowski he asked Renee if he could write her story for a school paper. During Renee’s time in rehab her story spread around and people wanted to know more. Through this paper and experience TWLOHA was birthed. Renee’s story has changed at least thousands of lives so far and is continuing to change them daily.
Renee has always loved music because it has a way of speaking to the soul the way words alone cannot. She decided to use music as a way to help people and raise awareness. Many bands have helped TWLOHA spread the word about teen depression and self-harm. Renee even writes music herself. She even started a blog this past winter where she posts her favorite music, inspirational bits of joy and updates about her life.
I live my life as an example to others so that one day I can change a life. Maybe I already have, maybe I will be writing this paper, maybe my life will be the only one changed by my actions, but I love who I have become and will never return to the past.
Tell them to look up, tell them to remember the stars – Renee Yohe