Lesley didn’t get into dance until middle school. “I was always playing sports and then suddenly in middle school I just wanted to dance,” Lesley said. “I made it on the Sperreng Star Team then and just kept going.” Lesley danced at Lindbergh High School where the team went to state finals and Nationals, and when she left for the University of Missouri, she continued to dance with her sorority Delta Gamma.
Lesley pursued a journalism degree with an emphasis in photojournalism, but after graduating in 2010, she realized journalism wasn’t the long-term career for her. Lesley now works full-time organizing recreation and special events for Tower Grove Park, deciding that her true passion lay in working with people and helping the community.
“Anyone that knows me knows I love helping people and working in the community… it’s just what I want to do with my life,” Lesley said. “I want to hopefully start my own non-profit organization in the next five years, but I have so many different things I’m interested in that now it’s just about figuring out where to focus.”
And according to Lesley, joining the Rams in 2013 has only helped her further her journey towards building a non-profit, something she wants to dedicate her life to.
“I didn’t originally intend to try out for the team when I did,” Lesley said. “I was on the Blue Crew for the St. Louis Blues when a friend who was trying out for Rams Cheerleading asked me to do it wither her. I was scared because it had been so long since I’d danced, but once tryouts started it all came back to me and I just got lost in the moment. My mindset going into auditions the first year was more along the lines that everything happens for a reason and whatever is supposed to happen, will happen. I knew that if I didn't make it, that it wasn't meant to be, but I was going to at least try my best. I honestly just never thought that I would be able to make the Rams Cheerleading Squad, so when it was announced that I made the squad, I was completely surprised and beyond blessed that this could even happen to me. Now, I am so grateful because with the Rams I am not only dancing again, but I am constantly interacting with people in the community and volunteering whenever I can.”
Lesley’s very passionate about working with children with Down syndrome and children that are deaf and hard of hearing. She grew up with her cousin who had Down syndrome, and when he passed away last summer, she realized she wanted to become more involved in this aspect of the community. Lesley recently volunteered this summer at the Football Camp for the Stars put on by the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis, something she hopes to get more involved with in the future.
Her interest in children with cochlear implants primarily comes from interacting with her 11-year-old niece who is deaf and received bi-lateral implants when she was younger. “My niece has two implants and watching her adapt and grow with them has been an incredible experience,” Lesley said. “My sister and niece know sign language, and I am hoping to start learning that as well soon.”
In terms of her plans for a non-profit, Lesley said her interest in Down syndrome and children with cochlear implants may feed into what the organization is focused on, although it could take a different route as well. She and her high school and college sweetheart, fiancé Dave, will found the organization together. Dave is a nuclear medicine technologist with a family history of colon cancer, so the organization could end up becoming dedicated to fighting cancer. Lesley herself is colorblind, and it runs her family, but she said that she doesn’t see that coming into play for her non-profit. Right now Lesley isn’t sure how the organization will develop, only that it will.
“With the Rams, I’m able to volunteer a lot and meet with so many different people and that is what’s going to really help me narrow my focus,” Lesley said. “All I know right now is that in the next five years I will be married, looking to start a family and have at least the foundation of my organization set. Well, that and Dave will have to keep helping me double-check my outfits to make sure the colors match.”