Dancing with the Stars for JMU happens in about 19 hours. It’s crazy to think how many people have been encouraged to speak out and start conversations because of the creation of JMU Dancing with the Stars for Suicide Prevention.

I’m thrilled – heart pounding – mind racing – nervous – excited for a room of hundreds of JMU students to hear the message: “You are worth the time, the effort, the energy and the support that you need to figure out/become/and LIKE who you are.”

College is all about developing our minds intellectually. But how are we supposed to use what we have learned if we don’t understand ourselves, or cannot regulate our emotions in healthy ways so that we can become the productive, self sufficient, dream chasing, life loving, innovating people that JMU has been preparing us to become?

If there is one thing I’ve learned at JMU it’s that you can’t run away from yourself (and well, probably a bunch of other stuff too)… but, since I entered in 2008 I’ve learned that no matter how hard you try, no matter how much you succeed, no matter who you impress or don’t impress – you are who you are at the end of every single day. If we leave here not knowing who that is – or not knowing how to take care of ourselves mentally, physically and emotionally in very basic ways – then how are we going to use all the other knowledge  we’ve learned?

My name is Erin Casey. I Stand for following your dreams, pursuing your passions and your heart – but at the same time being able to look yourself in the mirror at the end of the day when everyone is gone – and know that you – who you are regardless of all else -are perfectly okay — or better beautiful in YOUR way.

That is what Dancing with the stars of JMU is all about.