Have you ever wondered how Where I Stand Founders Erin Casey and Natalie Ball met? Maybe you’ve wondered what their friendship is like outside the organization. Well, this post is for you. Here it is: Your Founders from Day One.
Natalie was studying for Psych 160 lifespan and human development at Starbucks when she was introduced to Erin through a mutual friend. They connected almost instantly over pike’s place and the warm atmosphere of Carrier Library. Erin and Natalie hung out that afternoon with a few other people working on homework (Natalie psychology, and Erin political science) and they ended up being the last two from the group there [they are notorious perfectionists]. After competing their work they began talking about their majors and their passions to help people and inspire change in the world and they soon realized that their beliefs, passions, convictions, interests and dreams were not so different from each other.
Throughout college Erin and Natalie not only realized that they had similar passions and dreams, but they became best friends. Trekking though the ups and downs of college life together and encouraging each other continue pursuing experiences that would enhance their goals of spreading awareness, education, and hope in the face of dealing with mental health concerns. They continued to spend their nights in the library, made many starbucks and diet-coke runs, took walks around Walmart at 2 in the morning, and ate lunch at Panera Bread. Eventually, they became leaders and mental health advocates on James Madison University’s Campus through the organization called Active Minds. Through this organization they put on several mental health program including the hugely successful Dancing with the Stars for JMU for Suicide Prevention. Beyond school work and advocating on campus they understood that there was still so much more they wanted to do and that was the birth of Where I Stand.
After graduating Erin and Natalie have geographically separated but are still focused on making a difference through Where I Stand, their soon to be non-profit, and their current work. There is never a day where Natalie and Erin don’t exchange a phone call or text message about life after college, a new idea for Where I Stand or something fun to do in the future. Currently they are early planning a trip to NYC in January and working on Where I Stand’s next big project for eating disorder awareness month, a Fashion Show!
Two girls driven to make a difference in the world are proud to say “This is Where I Stand.”