We Are:
  • Mentors
  • Supporters
  • Lifelines

Meet Our HUGS Ambassadors

Think of our Ambassadors as a lifeline, or a safe place for the questions, emotions and concerns that can best be addressed by someone who has "been there, done that". They have each been certified through our HUGS curriculum to provide one-on-one and group peer support to anyone walking the path of caring.

Read their profiles and find someone who seems like a good fit for you. Then, fill out the form on their profile and connect! YOU decide how and how often.

Ambassador Profile Pic
Ellen Hinsch
Columbia, South Carolina

Dementia

Courage does not always roar. Sometimes, courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

Full Bio
Ambassador Profile Pic
Janie Anthony
Cayce, South Carolina

Dementia

"Being a caregiver is not a job, it's a calling, We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone."

Full Bio
Ambassador Profile Pic
Pat Waters
Irmo, South Carolina

General Caregiving

"If there is anything I learned in my 15 years of caregiving, it's that having community changes everything."

Full Bio

Frequently Asked Questions

NO, all of our services are free, whether it's HUGS or Leeza's Care Connection. We believe getting support from someone who understands what you're going through makes a big difference is your ability to cope and offer care while holding on to your own life. You can connect with your HUGS Ambassador as much or as little as you like or need.

We encourage you to give it a little bit of time, but if it's not the right fit....that's OK. You can always try someone new. All of our HUGS/mentee relationships are confidential. Just email the HUGS Program Director at  hugs@leezascareconnection.org who you'd like to be your new match.

Our HUGS trained Ambassadors often offer what we call "Group Hugs", too. These are small gatherings of people who self-determine the course of their discussions in group.

Unlike typical support groups, Group Hugs are facilitated by peers rather than licensed professionals.

Reach out to us at hugs@leezascareconnection.org if you'd like to learn more about Group HUGS virtual or in-person.

Many people under the stress of caring feel that way. In fact, it's a perfectly fine place to open up a conversation with your Ambassador.

The idea is to encourage human connections as a way of easing the burden of caregiving and sharing thoughts, ideas, strategies with someone who has stood where you stand. Sometimes, a blame-free, shame-free place with no judgement is enough.

YES! Utilizing the skills and experience of people like you is exactly why HUGS was created. We'd love to have you on the team. Just fill out the form or email us at hugs@leezascareconnection.org to get registered for HUGS Training.

It's one day a week, two hours at a time for 6 weeks. Basically, it's designed to help you recognize your strengths as a comforter and to help you maximize the experience you gained as a carepartner. The focus is on effective listening, becoming a healing presence, self-care, empowerment and personal growth.

Our HUGS graduates love it, and they enjoy being part of a unique caring community.

 

We currently host our HUGS Trainings in-person, but offer a virtual format joining in via zoom! If you're interested in HUGS Training fill out the form or reach out to us at hugs@leezascareconnection.org.

Leeza Gibbons, the founder of Leeza's Care Connection, and an FCTA: "former caregiver turned Advocate" created the program based on 25 years of being involved in the caregiving community. She saw the relationships that formed through her non-profit , The Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation, and realized there is an urgent need for carepartners to have mentors who can support their journey. Leeza has always felt that you should be able "to hold on to yourself, even if you're letting go of someone you love".