About the Staff
Eric Partridge, CEO
Eric has spent the last 10 years working with the disabled community around the areas of finding and maintaining housing. His experiences have ranged from direct care to intensive case management. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of San Diego with honors and spent some time training for a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology. Currently he is a Certified Senior Advisor and looks forward to doing more work with seniors in the future. He volunteers with Pets Unlimited in San Francisco, which is a non-profit animal rescue and veterinary clinic. He has commitment to persons with disabilities that has spanned most of his life with volunteer work in high school through paid work into adulthood. Eric is very excited about the work that he is doing with Thrive Support Services and looks forward to a bright future.
Candice Elton, Office Manager
Candice comes from years of working as an Office Manager, to one of the largest privately owned home care agencies in California. She brings her strong knowledge of billing, payroll and human resources with her. Candice has always wanted to work in the disabled community in some capacity, and is thrilled to be here at Thrive. In her spare time, she likes to enjoy spending time with her family, especially her small children.
Supported Living Services
Chris Candari, SLS Program Manager
I started working in the field of developmental disability in 1995 in Bakersfield, CA as a direct care staff. It first started out as a job of opportunity because the field is not related to my bachelor’s degree in business management but, I soon realized that it was not just a job but, it was my passion to provide care and support to people with special needs.
In my twenty (20) years of experience, I had the opportunity to perform various roles such as: Supervisor of an ICF/DDH Homes, Supported Living Services, and Scheduling Supervisor. Also as a Program Manager of a CCF Group Homes, Crisis Response Team and of an ILS program.
The greatest reward I get in working with people with special needs is the satisfaction in knowing I made some contribution in improving an individual’s quality of life.
I love to walk my dog in my spare time and spend time with family and friends.
Daesha Lumho, SLS Assistant Program Manager
Daesha has worked with Adults with developmental disabilities for 10 years, she discovered a passion that changed her life. “They don’t tell you it will be the most amazing job you ever had, to make a difference in a person’s life.” She believes that her mission is to provide life skills and work related training to Adults with developmental disabilities. She supports her Consumers in reaching their optimum level of individual potential by delivering a broad range of resources and ongoing guidance. In her spare time, she loves to spend time with her Son, watch sports and loves to travel. Daesha is very grateful to Thrive for giving her the opportunity to bring her experience here to the Thrive community.
Brandy Decker, SLS Case Manager
Brandy came to Thrive with experience in mental health, substance use disorders, addictions, working with adults and children with developmental disabilities, and 10+ years in the emergency medical field. Her passion for helping others has always been a focus in her careers. She has a B.A. in Psychology and will continue her schooling next year when she pursues her master’s degree in social work. Brandy loves to destress by kickboxing and spends all of her free time with her 13-year-old son where they enjoy anything outdoor and hockey!
Olimpia Marinero, SLS Case Manager
Olimpia received her bachelor’s degree in 2001. She has experience working in the Developmental Disabilities field for over 5 years. She first started working as direct care staff when she moved to the Bay Area; has worked in different day programs and in-home care. Her passion for working with the developmentally disabled, hits her very close as her own brother was born with a disability. She loves to volunteer at her local Church and in her community. She feels especially rewarded when she is able to help her clients make positive changes in their lives. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, Zumba, and spending time with family.
Independent Living Services
Maria Rodriguez Ruelas, ILS Program Director
Maria began working for Thrive Support Services in 2013 after obtaining a B.A in Psychology at California State University East Bay. Maria started working as an ILS instructor and very quickly was promoted to an ILS Case Manager. In 2016, she became the ILS Program Manager and is now serving as the ILS Program Director. She states that working at Thrive has not only given her valuable experience but has also enriched her life as an individual. Thrive has allowed her to grow as a professional all while having fun! She includes that Thrive’s focus on community integration and self-advocacy has helped many clients feel more connected within their communities, but ultimately, our communities have been enriched by allowing adults with disabilities to have an active role. Maria is currently pursuing a PsyD in Clinical Psychology at John F. Kennedy University.
Karen Espinoza, ILS Assistant Program Manager
Karen started working with Thrive in May, 2015 as an ILS Instructor. Shortly after being hired, she was promoted to an ILS Case Manager. Karen has a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and hopes to pursue a Master’s degree in Social Services. Her passion for helping individuals with developmental disabilities began after working at a hospital’s Emergency Department and working directly with many patients with developmental disabilities. In her free time, Karen loves to dance, watch movies, cook, and to spend time with friends and family. Karen is very excited about the work that she is doing with Thrive Support Services.
Crystal Cowen, ILS Housing and Recruiting Coordinator
Crystal began as an ILS instructor for Thrive Support Services in 2015 and was promoted to ILS Case Manager shortly after. She is now the acting Recruitment Manager and an ILS Case Manager. Crystal has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Howard University and is working towards a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology at John F. Kennedy University. Crystal comes from a professional background with non-profit organizations, community services, and education. She is passionate about supporting Thrive consumers with accomplishing their goals and becoming independent and confident individuals. She believes that the Thrive culture offers our staff and clients a genuine environment to grow and be supported in. Crystal is enthusiastic about the work she is doing and excited about the progress Thrive clients are making every day.
Kelsey Miller, ILS Case Manager
Kelsey Miller obtained her B.S. degree from Arizona State University in 2014. She has several years of experience in working with people with disabilities. Prior to working at Thrive, Kelsey worked as a Recreation Specialist in various inclusive recreation programs. After working as an ILS instructor for a few months she was promoted to ILS Case Manager. She is very passionate about helping others and enjoys the close-knit environment here at Thrive. Currently, Kelsey is obtaining her Master’s degree in Human Services. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring new areas, bicycling, and spending time with friends and family.
Ashlee Kaigler, ILS Case Manager
Ashlee has an associates degree in business management from the University of Phoenix. Ashlee has worked with Thrive for 2 years, as an ILS Instructor before being promoted to ILS Case Manager. Before Thrive, Ashlee worked as a caregiver for an in-home care company. Her passion has always been to help others no matter what. Ashlee has several family members with disabilities and has always been their caregiver, which inspired her to pursue a career in disabilities and social services. It brings her so much joy to be a part of such a great company. “With Thrive it makes me want to continue to thrive with life and for the people. I find joy in helping the clients mark off their goals and becoming more independent each day. On my off days, I spend them with my daughters and family and friends or reading a good book. I’m always researching for ways to help improve my community.”
Yesenia Lopez Gonzalez, ILS Case Manager
Yesenia started working with Thrive in September 2017 as ILS Parenting Support Instructor. She would also be available on call as a Personal Attendant in the Supported Living Program. In July 2019, she was promoted to ILS Case Manager. Yesenia received her Associate’s degree in Medical Assisting in 2007, all the while continuing to work full time. While working as a caregiver at a Senior Care Facility, it was there that she fell in love with the field, and she knew that is where she belonged. Yesenia was quickly promoted from caregiver to med-tech. After working in senior care for 5 years, she started working at Futures Explored Day Program, at group homes, and found ILS. She did not see herself doing anything else. She wakes up every day, is truly happy to go to work, and help clients achieve their goals. Being able to work with Latin families, and mono-lingual Spanish speaking clients, hits home for her, and making a difference in someone’s home is her main goal. Yesenia would love to become a great public speaker one day, and be a role model to someone who feels insecure and struggles with self-confidence, just like she has felt in the past. She is the oldest of 3 siblings. Yesenia has been married for 7 years, to the love of her life. During her free time, she loves to take road trips with family, writing in her journal, and singing like no one is listening.
Daisy Gallegos, ILS Assessment Intake Coordinator
Daisy graduated from Sacramento State University in 2015 and received a bachelors degree in Psychology. She plans on getting her masters degree in social services in the future. She has a variety of experience working with people with disabilities from community centers to health clinics. Being able to support people in the community is her passion. For fun, she likes to go on hikes with her dog, watch movies and spend time with friends and family.
Michael Hutson, ILS Case Manager
Michael “Mike” Hutson has worked diligently over the past 17 years attempting to enhance the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities. As a result of his unique scope of practice, he has had the privilege of working as a Mentor, Counselor, Direct Care Staff, ILS instructor and Director. His experiences have inspired him to continue his education, earning a Doctorate in Theology with special attention in Humanities. Mike believes “where there is unity there is strength for all”.
Victoria Bellido, ILS Assessment Intake Coordinator
Victoria graduated from Sacramento State University in 2017 and received her bachelor’s degree in Child Development. Currently, Victoria is obtaining her master’s degree in Special Education and teaching credential in moderate/severe disabilities at San Francisco State University. Her experiences vary from teaching at inclusive schools, tutoring at community colleges, and partnering up with special education teachers in creating curriculum. She is very passionate about inclusive education and mentoring young adults in becoming independent individuals in their own community. In her spare time, Victoria enjoys trying out new foods and spending time with family and friends.
Denee Hill, ILS Case Manager
Denee started with Thrive as an ILS Instructor in September of 2018, before being promoted to ILS Case Manager shortly after. Prior to working with Thrive, Denee worked with Children with developmental disabilities and behavioral disorders for 10 years. Over those 10 years, Denee gained various skills such as: crisis communication, discreet trial training, and different methods of building positive relationships with her students. Denee is very passionate about her work and is dedicated to helping her consumers have and maintain a better quality of life by teaching them the skills they need to be independent. Denee has an older sister with a developmental disability and has always been an advocate, teacher and caregiver for her big sister. During her free time, Denee enjoys spending time with her family, going to the movies, and traveling. Denee is excited to see what the future holds for her with Thrive Support Services, and looks forward to growing with the company.
Gabriela Delgado , ILS Case Manager
Gabriela graduated from Cal State East Bay University in 2019. She majored in Sociology hoping to help individuals in need out in her community. Gabriela started working for an ABA company in Alameda in 2017. Over the two years that she worked with the ABA company she felt really connected and motivated to continue working with the Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled population. Gabriela is now an ILS Case Manager for Thrive Support Services and hopes to continue to grow within the company in order to help more individuals in the Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled community.
Maelvy Saucedo, ILS Case Manager
Maelvy received her bachelor’s degree in Early Child Development from Sacramento State University. She is planning on getting my master’s degree in Social Services in the near future. She was raised with a family member with special needs, and always said that she wanted to work in an environment where I can help people with disabilities. She is passionate in what she does and enjoys helping others.