Music, poetry and stories highlight Active Minds’ night

By Robert Riches
April 25, 2012

Sophomores Anie Jamgochian and Samantha Shea get LOVE written on their arms in celebration of the day. (Submitted by Theresa Paesani)

The college’s Active Minds chapter held its second annual To Write Love on Her Arms night on Tuesday, April 24, at the Widener Center lecture hall.

The hall was packed to near capacity as students from all walks of life gathered to share stories, poetry, music and even several raffle prizes.

“Active Minds…does a lot of mental health advocacy and tries to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness,” Robyn Suchy, president of Active Minds, said.

Suchy started the event off with a spoken word piece, in which she proclaimed that words are powerful. Suchy then became the first person to share a story about her past.

Sophomore English major Michelle Goff became the first person to read poetry by reading an original piece about the To Write Love on Her Arms foundation. Goff was not the only poet amongst the audience, as many other students such as sophomore English major Samantha Ysais recited some of their favorite original and inspirational works.

Following Goff’s piece, junior business administration major John Crouse brought out a guitar, a harmonica complete with a neck rack and his musical talents to share with the audience. Crouse played two covers of songs- “Catch the Wind” by Scottish musician Donovan and “I’ll Be Your Mirror” by classic rock band the Velvet Underground. Crouse also performed an original piece titled “What Do You See.”

“It felt good just to play to people, especially with the tone of the songs,” Crouse said. “They would understand and they would get it.”

Crouse was just one of several people who lent their musical gifts to the audience. The audience also enjoyed sophomore Anie Jamgochian’s cover of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful,” featuring sophomore Lauren Ciccariello on piano. Jamgochian also collaborated with senior Pat Schneider for a rendition of Good Charlotte’s “Hold On.”

Sophomores Samantha Shea and Leann Scherer also collaborated on a duet rendition of “For Good,” from the Broadway musical “Wicked.” Alumnus Neil Grogno also made a one-night-only appearance to perform several original works as well.

In addition to the music and poetry, students also had the opportunity to share some of their own personal stories about any topic of their choosing. Topics ranged from depression to bullying to self-harm as well as other topics and many stories were complemented with tears. Despite the tears, the students were all there to comfort one another and pick each other up.

Following the success of the first To Write Love on Her Arms night in 2011, Active Minds decided to bring it back.

“Before it got to Cabrini, I had followed the organization, as it’s a national organization based in Florida,” Suchy said. “I really like the way that they structure their events with poetry, music and a lot of cathartic arts.”

According to their website, “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.” They try to bring hope and inspire those who may be in a tough situation, emotionally or physically.

“In my freshman year, we sat down and decided that we needed a big spring event,” Suchy said. “It was decided that To Write Love on Her Arms would be a good shot.”

The first two To Write Love on Her Arms events turned out to be highly successful for both Active Minds and the students on campus.  The night served as a reminder that even when times get tough, they will get better and there is no need to lose hope.

“There was really no other opportunity for students to tell their stories and that’s a very important part of healing,” Suchy said.

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Robert Riches

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