Associate Spotlight - Love is Patience

Academy Point associate delays tropical wedding to help community’s COVID response
Female associate posing for picture at senior living home
Feb '21

Tashara Leaky was supposed to get married in August at a Caribbean villa. The Resident Care Director at Academy Point at Mystic had been planning her dream wedding for almost two years.

Unfortunately, several months before her wedding date, COVID-19 turned the world upside down. For Tashara, her focus remained on her community’s residents, nurses and fellow associates. 

“One day it became clear that COVID was now in our backyard. It was real, not just a news story,” explains Tashara. “I had a pep talk with myself. I knew I needed to step up and be strong for our residents and my team. Some tears were shed, but I knew it would take all of me to get through this.”

So, Tashara and her fiancé, Fabian Facey, postponed their wedding. 

Many residents and associates at Academy Point were disappointed, as they had planned to watch a livestream of the Caribbean ceremony. 

A new date was set for August 2021, and then another for August 2022. In December, the couple learned they were going to be parents for the fourth time and then decided to tie the knot sooner than later. 

This Sunday, Valentine’s Day, they will have an intimate ceremony in Stonington, CT. The villa will have to wait. 

Rising star in resident care

Family posing for picture in Holiday attire next to Christmas tree

“That example of her dedication tells you everything you need to know about Tashara,” says Bonnie Pollard-Johnson, the Executive Director of Academy Point. “We are blessed to have Tashara serving our residents and working alongside our associates. She has all the qualities you want in a nurse and a leader, from clinical skill to kindness and compassion. We are proud to have her on our team!” 

Tashara started at Academy Point in 2012 as a part-time Resident Care Associate. She’d been working in home care as a Certified Nurse Assistant and had just given birth to her daughter, so she wanted to transition to a more stable and consistent job.

At Academy Point, she quickly advanced to lead RCA, all the while working overnight shifts for three years while attending school full-time to become a registered nurse.

Academy Point recognized Tashara’s potential, work ethic and her sincere interest in the residents. The community convinced her to stay. So, she trained for a supervisory role and learned about the business and administrative aspects of assisted living, as well as developed her leadership and management skills. In 2018, she was offered the Resident Care Director position.

While a student, Tashara had experiences in a variety of care settings, including several hospital units. They didn’t cut it for her. 
“The one thing that was clear was that family feeling at Academy Point didn’t exist anywhere else. I could have used my nursing skills elsewhere, but I needed that feeling of connecting in a deeper way. Academy Point always felt like home,” she explains  

Connection to her community
The feeling is mutual. Residents are always asking Tashara about her “Benchmark babies” – she’s had two children since joining the community – and they’ve tried to keep up on her big wedding plans. 

Tashara says she will not livestream her ceremony on Valentine’s Day. She will save that for when the couple gets to enjoy a ceremony in a more exotic location.  

“Everything is paid for so we will have that dream wedding in the Caribbean, and I will show off my big wedding dress to the community then,” she adds.

Learn more about life at Academy Point at Mystic.

Academy Point at Mystic