Meet the Staff
Mike grew up in Cincinnati, became a teenage alcoholic and went on to be a serious drug abuser in his early adult life. In 1979, he surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and was set free from addiction. Later that year, he married Leisa and they now have three adult children. They started in the ministry together in 1981 as staff members at Cincinnati Teen Challenge. The Leonards have also served as directors at other Teen Challenge centers in Youngstown, Colorado and Kentucky. In 1988 they pioneered an inner city ministry/church (now two separate entities known as Heart Reach and Metro Assembly) in Youngstown serving troubled children, teens and families from several drug and crime infested metropolitan housing projects.
Mike is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God and has also served as senior pastor for two congregations in Northern Kentucky over an 18 year period. In 2009 (after being a Teen Challenge of Kentucky Board Member for 10 years) he become director at Chad’s Hope Teen Challenge (a 35 bed facility for men) in Clay County, Kentucky. In January 2014, Mike and Leisa moved to Willard, Ohio to renovate the former Willard Health Care facility and open Teen Challenge of the Firelands. The center opened on December 8, 2014 and has had very good success helping young women find a new beginning in life.
Leisa met Jesus at the age of 11, but it wasn’t until she was 19, after a season of truly searching for truth, that she fully surrendered her life to Jesus Christ. Coming from a dysfunctional family environment created layers of painful memories and mistrust in Leisa’s life. During her early years as a Christian, she quickly learned to implement Philippians 4:12, working out salvation (healing, deliverance, rescue) as the Holy Spirit brought her through inner healing to strength and stability in Christ.
She and her husband Mike have three awesome adult children, Rachel, Michael and Stephanie and have journeyed together in ministry for the past 36 years. As a team, they have worked as pioneers in developing new ministries, pastoring churches and with Teen Challenges. Her roles have been many and varied; adult and children’s teacher, worship pastor, administration, and basically, “mom” to whosoever will. Her passion is to see others come to Christ, be set free, healed and discipled in their walk with Jesus.
Lead Dorm Staff & Student Advisor
Cher moved from Youngstown Ohio to live in as a staff member and dedicate her life to serving women with drug/alcohol addictions. She worked as a Phlebotomy Technician for Lab Corp for several years in Youngstown. She has a son Tom, a daughter Pam and four grandchildren, Shelby, Nathan, Jaeden and Gracie. Cher lost a father to alcoholism, a brother and a sister to drug/alcohol addiction which both ended in suicide. Her son graduated from Teen Challenge in 2005 and is now a Pastor. She is committing her life to serving the Lord in blessing others that are in need of deliverance from such addictions.
Dean of Education & Mentoring
Originally from Greater Cincinnati, Rachel’s life goal is “to know God and to make Him known.” She obtained a bachelors in Church Ministries & Missions from Southeastern University in 2006 and has been an Assemblies of God minister for 10 years. Rachel jokes that Teen Challenge is in her DNA. She was born while her parents (Mike & Leisa) worked for Cincinnati Teen Challenge – and gave her heart to Jesus at a TC rally in Youngstown, OH. Her early ministry years shaped the woman she is today. She served as an urban youth minister, a house mom in a maternity home and in two centers operated by Teen Challenge of Kentucky, eventually becoming a Program Director. She spent nearly 5 years in Springfield, MO where she worked in a school that equipped people in recovery with life skills and a professional trade. In November 2015, Rachel joined the TCOTF team and now she enjoys the daily challenge of empowering & equipping women by leading them to relationship with Jesus.
Student Care Manager
Mary Ann was born in Youngstown, OH. She grew up with 11 siblings and survived! She enjoys the outdoors and all kinds of adventure. Mary Ann spent over thirty years in the medical field, a career she loved. She came to know the Lord in 1984 and her life was never the same! She knew she had a call to the mission field to help hurting women find their way for a long time. When she heard about the new center opening in Willard, and she was so happy women would have a place to find healing. She counts it an honor and a privilege to be a part of a team that endeavors to help women find freedom in Christ Jesus. Every day is a challenge and a blessing, yet she is so thankful for the opportunity to serve her Lord and Savior in ministry – to break the chains of darkness and set the captive free!
Student Advisor & Teacher
Shelley was born and raised in the small town of Galion Ohio. Her single mom raised her in a Catholic home & school. She grew up with 2 older brothers that taught her at a very young age how to make good money selling drugs. So, that’s what she did most of her adult life, in and out of prison and jails she lived a life of drug sales and addiction. She has lost her husband, both brothers, and many close friends to drug related deaths.
In 2010, the last time she went to jail and then on to prison, she really came to know the Lord. God has freed her from drugs, smoking and many other things of her past. He has opened many doors in order for her to share what He’s done for her, working at Teen Challenge of the Fireland’s is one of them. She’s also very involved in her church and has a ministry in the same jail that she once found God in. Shelley is grateful that God has placed her where she can help ladies that come from where she once was.
Bonnie retired after a 31 year career as a planning analyst for Pepperidge Farm in Willard, OH –
and she was on of the first team members to join the staff in 2014.
Bonnie’s son was bound by drug addiction, and he found hope and healing at Ohio Valley Teen Challenge in Youngstown. Through her own experience with a loved one lost to addiction, Bonnie felt the call into full time ministry to help those who are struggling with addictions.
Bonnie and her husband Gary reside at their Log Cabin in Delphi and enjoy spending time with their 4 children and 20 Grandchildren.
Work Experience Leader & Student Advisor
Suzanne was born and bred on the Southeast side of Youngstown, OH. She’s 34 years old and has a cat named Jake that she loves very much. She has been a part of Teen Challenge for over five years. She started as a student and graduated from Western Michigan Teen Challenge in January 2013. After completing she stayed in the ministry as an Intern for nearly 2 years. She joined our team in August 2014 as a Student Advisor. Suzanne has a passion to help hurting women change their lives and be transformed by the power of Jesus Christ.
Intake & Student Affairs Coordinator
Kelley is from Canonsburg, Pa (near Pittsburgh). Her favorite color is purple and she is a huge Steeler’s fan! She is a cat mom to a sweet cat named Tucker. Kelley came to TC in July of 2015, broken and lost with an addiction to pain pills and alcohol. She completed the program in August 2016 and felt the Lord calling her to help others. She decided to stay and entered the ELP internship. After her internship, Kelley joined the staff as the Intake and Student Affairs Coordinator. Today, she is excited to use her warm, friendly personality, sarcastic sense of humor & good hugs to help others find what God’s purpose and plans are for their lives. Her life verse is Joshua 1:9, “This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Direct Care Staff & Work Operations Assistant
Alicia hails from Weirton, WV. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education & Health. She had a good childhood growing up, but had a lot of insecurities and anxiety. After college, Alicia started using pain pills to numb her pain, but it eventually led into heroin. She was addicted for 5 years. She went to detox, outpatient and tried a 28 day program. But none of those worked. In March 2015, she was arrested and told about Teen Challenge. Alicia arrived here on April 9, 2015 and it changed her life. She completed the 1 year program and decided to stay on as an intern for a year. Now, Alicia serves as a staff member and loves her job and all the ladies. She has a passion for helping women and giving them hope. She says, “Without God in my life today, I know I wouldn’t be happy and filled with joy and laughter.”