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Six-Word stories on race, identity, and Black Lives Matter from High Point Academy students in Colorado.

"Help is Real, Hope is Real"—Six Words on Hope & Pain

A few months ago I received an over-the-transom email from a young woman named Chloe Grabanski. She explained:

I work for a nonprofit organization, To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), and I’m a huge fan of “Six-Word Memoirs.” TWLOHA works to raise awareness for issues like depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. We also invest directly into treatment and recovery. We’re big fans of words, and what you are doing is amazing.

It was clear just how aligned SMITH and TWLOHA were about the strange, often surprising power of just a few words to make a huge difference. Like SMITH, TWLOHA has been all over Twitter, even winning the “Best Nonprofit use of Twitter” award from the The Shorty Awards.

Founded by Jamie Tworkowski in 2006, the unusual name, “To Write Love on Her Arms,” comes from the true story Tworkowski wrote about the five days he spent with a friend who was denied entry into a drug treatment center. From there, over time, organically grew a worldwide organization and movement that has helped thousands and thousands of people, many of whom are teens or young adults, deal with feelings of despair, depression, and pain. Much of TWLOHA’s success is that it’s made it okay, “cool” even, to seek help. Hipster bands across the world have helped spread TWLOHA’s message via music videos and talking TWLOHA while on tour, and the organization also makes really cool T-shirts</a (you can see one proudly modeled by me, above).

Now, I am so pleased to announce “Six Words on Hope & Pain,” a Six-Word Memoir project in collaboration with To Write Love on Her Arms. In a true moment of kismet, before we even hatched up this joint effort, it seems that TWLOHA had its own six-word mission statement, as James Earl Jones explains in this video: “Hope is real, help is real.” We could not agree more. Take a look at our new six-word project with TWLOHA—and please spread the word.

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