Lesley Scearce

A Failure of Imagination?
Changing the Conversation about Chattanooga's Youth

We live in the richest nation in the world, yet many of our youth can’t imagine a hopeful future. Well intentioned lawmakers and influencers make decisions to impact youth. Yet rarely do we ask or listen to the voice of those we hope to affect. It’s time to think differently about our city’s future. I believe youth are our city’s most untapped and under resourced source of innovation, generosity, and sustainability. This TED talk will shift our focus from “what’s wrong with youth” to "what's right with youth?" A common sense and data driven solution for reclaiming the future of our youth will be presented in 3 simple, yet transformational ideas: SPARK, VOICE, and RELATIONSHIP. Can you imagine...a city that SPARKS passion in youth, empowers their VOICE for change, and fosters the positive RELATIONSHIPS they need to thrive. With our youth leading the way, I certainly can.

About Lesley

Lesley Stiles Scearce is a sought-after speaker and trainer in non-profit leadership and youth development arenas. As the President / CEO of On Point: Direction for Life, Lesley has led a growing organization to reach 240,000 Chattanooga area youth with the skills and support they need to avoid risky behavior and be prepared for life.

In her 14 years of leadership, On Point's research and curricula are being replicated in 30 states and 13 foreign countries. Lesley states this is wholly "due to a passionate and high impact team" which she is humbled to serve alongside.

Lesley was an adjunct professor of non-profit management at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She has served on the steering committee for a data and community leadership driven collaboration called Ready by 21, ensuring all youth are ready for college, work and life. She also leads alongside medical and youth health professionals as a Board Chairman of the National Abstinence Education Association, located in Washington DC.

Most recently, she is leading community-wide training for parents, schools, businesses and community organizations in the 40 Developmental Assets®, the building blocks all youth need to flourish.

Lesley is grateful for what was invested in her as a young adult. So, she is passionate about launching kids towards an atypical life and transforming the ways adults view and engage with youth. In her words, "I used to see the gaps in youth, now I immediately see the resilience."

When she isn't wrangling two fun, young boys or at the ballfield, you probably can find her on her front porch with her husband, Daniel, and friends. She loves fly-fishing and folk music, and many years ago found herself in a folk singing band in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She is an active member of Calvary Chapel and lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Lesley Scearce

President and CEO
On Point-Direction for Life