Meet The Cheerleader Of The Week: Jessica

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Growing up, Jessica was empowered to set goals for herself and work hard to achieve them. If she could dream it, she could do it. And over the years, she turned her dreams into reality. 

"It's something that I was fortunate enough to grow up with – whether it was from my family or the support system around me, I had that encouragement, I had that support, I had all of those things that gave me the self confidence and courage to do everything it is that I do today."

Now that she's all grown up, it's something that's engrained in her. It's something that's important to her. And it's something that she's passionate about sharing with other young females.

And dance has given her a perfect platform to do that.

"I've taught dance ever since I was a teenager and that's something that has been a part of my life ever since. I guess I never really realized, me teaching dance and doing all the things that I have done in the dance industry, how that has impacted other young women and girls and they've kind of followed in my footsteps or aspired to follow in my footsteps." 

With 11 years of professional dance experience, eight seasons with the Pacers and three seasons with the Colts, for Jessica, a bigger spotlight means a bigger opportunity.

One of the ways she makes an impact is through the Junior Cheer program.

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"We work directly with girls and young women who look up to us and hope to one day wear the boots and be a Colts cheerleader on the sideline. Being able to spend time with them, not only through clinics but even through things outside our normal Junior Cheer clinics. Just to give them that opportunity, to show them that it is possible. To be that support and that encouragement for them, because even some of those Junior Cheer girls don't have that same support that I did growing up."

Every season, Jessica looks forward to getting her Junior Cheer squad, showering them in confidence, and watching them grow.  

"We get chills watching them smile on the field and learning a dance routine. We have the opportunity to really connect with some of those girls as well as establish relationships beyond Junior Cheer. That's the rewarding part. And that's where you see that connection come to life. And you really see that what we do has a purpose and it can change someone's life."

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As one of the older women on the team, Jessica invests in her Colts Cheer sisters in the same way.

"I have an opportunity to really make an impact on the new women coming in and the younger women coming in," she says. "It's a great opportunity for me to make them feel welcome, make them feel important, make them feel encouraged. We have a tendency to compare ourselves to each other. 'I don't look as good in that outfit as she does.' I try to be that daily reminder that each of us offers something so special and each of us is beautiful and each of us is important and talented."

In recognition of her efforts, Jessica's teammates voted her squad captain for the second year in a row. It's a huge honor, especially for someone who at one point considered herself shy.

"You can lead just by simply being there and doing the right thing and having that presence. You don't necessarily have to be the loudest in the room or even be the most talented in the room. You can be a silent leader. And that's just as impactful and important as someone who's more outwardly spoken."

For Jessica, dance is a passion that fueled another passion – to lead and encourage young women in a way that will impact them for the rest of their lives.

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"When we put our uniforms on, it's kind of like our superhero cape. In my mind, we're all superheroes in our own way and we can all have an impact."

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