Leslie joined the GUH team in July 2019. She is the director of Rice County ParentChild+ in Faribault and Northfield.
Where did you grow up, and how long have you lived in the Faribault area?
My parents migrated from Texas to Faribault in 1991. I lived there from kindergarten through high school, and then I moved to Medford. I still have family in Faribault.
What is your educational and/or work background?
I have my associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree in social work. Before taking the GUH job, I was the support services manager for Somali resettlement services in Faribault, and I helped Somali and Latinx students at risk for not graduating.
Why did you take this job with GUH?
Since pursuing the degree in social work, I felt Faribault needed a program that helped support the Latinx community specifically. When this position came up, I thought, this is the job for me!
What are your main job responsibilities?
My role with GUH is to build that relationship with families, that trust, to better serve them in areas they need help with – housing, child care, translation. With ParentChild+, I help coordinate the program, supervise the early learning specialists, and support them in finding resources available for families in need.
What do you like most about the job?
I like that I get to work directly with families. I can be the voice for those families who a lot of times are unable to voice their opinions about the different barriers they face.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Currently, it’s not being able to work with families face to face. Part of ParentChild+ is to promote creative ways to play in the home. Because of COVID we’re working on a different model. I’m glad we’re able to still provide services.
What are your hopes and dreams for the community where you work?
I want to be able to give my community hope and motivation. My mom is my role model. I had a hard time in high school and felt I wasn’t good enough. My mom pushed me and said, “You can do it.” That’s one of the reasons I am where I am today. I know that if I can do the same for someone else, that will help them move forward in life.
What do you do for fun?
I like to play the piano, and love to watch movies with my family.