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.
Bonnie retired after a 31 year career as a planning analyst for Pepperidge Farm in Willard, OH –
and she was one 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.