Linking Employment, Abilities and Potential


Addition of two staff members strengthens LEAP’s home and community-based services

Posted on 02/05/21 in LEAP Spotlight!

Headshot photos of Andrea and Candence

The new year welcomed two new faces to LEAP, as the agency has expanded our home and community- based services (HCBS) through the launch of a Hospital2Home program.

Hospital2Home is a transition program that focuses on individuals preparing to leave the hospital and return to community living. Through H2H, LEAP will provide short-term services that emphasize independence, natural supports and community connections. Hospital2Home is a grant-funded pilot through the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation and in partnership with The MetroHealth Rehabilitation Institute of Ohio.

Andrea DeJesus has assumed the role of Care Transition Coordinator and Candance Pinkard has joined the team as a Certified Community Health Worker.

Both Andrea and Candence possess a wealth of professional and personal experience rooted in the values and principles we hold dear as a Center for Independent Living. They are terrific additions to our team!

Meet Andrea DeJesus

LEAP’s mission of advancing a society of equal opportunity for all persons is deeply personal for Andrea. What began as sibling devotion to her brother with a disability as a 10-year-old has blossomed into a lifelong passion for helping others.

“While I was too young to comprehend the diagnosis, I knew it was my duty to protect, care for and advocate for my little brother,” said Andrea. “That experience had a profound impact.”

Andrea began her professional career as a State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNA), helping older adults with personal care activities.

“Working in a skilled nursing setting strengthened my passion for service and my desire to advocate for others,” said Andrea. “I wanted to help residents learn how to take care of themselves and, whenever possible, return home.”

With LEAP, she’s accomplishing that goal by planning and implementing care transition services for consumers recently identified for release from a hospital or post-acute setting.

“I look forward to supporting consumers as they transition home and continue on their personal journey of healing, independence and success,” said Andrea. “I’m ecstatic to be taking on this new opportunity with LEAP.”

Andrea owns an associate degree in occupational therapy from Brown Mackie College and a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management from South University.

Meet Candence Pinkard

A natural collaborator and passionate advocate for others, Candence is excited to serve as a bridge between LEAP and other partners committed to helping consumers successfully transition back into the community.

“I love assisting individuals become more independent and self-sufficient,” Candence said. “Seeing consumers become more confident in their abilities – and the sense of pride that often accompanies this boost in self-esteem – is particularly gratifying.”

Candence serves as LEAP’s liaison with health care providers, social services and the community, providing consumer-directed services through a range of activities.

Working as a Certified Community Health Worker for the past five years, Candence is committed to making a difference.

“LEAP has given me the opportunity to spread my wings and grow professionally,” Candence said. “I strive to positively impact everyone I serve.”

When not assisting LEAP consumers achieve their independent living goals or spending time with family or friends, Candance is likely educating community members on the benefits of creating an estate as a life insurance agent.

Candance holds an associate degree in criminal justice and is certified by the Ohio Nursing Board.

Please join us in welcoming both Andrea and Candence to LEAP!

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