Supporting women who need a second chance.

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors will focus on Second Grace’s mission, strategy, and goals, and is responsible for the overall management of the organization. The Board is comprised of talented and compassionate community members.


Candace Abel – President

“… to be always more grateful, and somehow better and simpler in one’s contemplating, deeper in one’s belief in life, and in living happier and bigger.”  Rainer Maria Rilke

Candace believes in living life “bigger,” and that includes practicing gratefulness alongside passions. If you believe in something, act on it yourself. When you turn around, you will see others are following you. Living life this way led Candace into social work and to adopt and raise 14 children alongside her 3 biological children. Eventually, she founded Brittany’s Hope Foundation and turned the reins over to her qualified and equally passionate daughter.

As a retiree, she became a Court Appointed Special Advocate in Lancaster County where she recognized a need for programs for young mothers involved in the foster care system. She founded Second Grace and Girl Crush Co. Today, she brings her passion and skills to the board alongside the many talented members who share a similar passion. To serve others in need is to live your life happier.

Kelsey Ashworth – Vice President


Kelsey Ashworth, Esq. is a family law attorney and former Dauphin County Deputy District Attorney who strives to share her compassion and love of learning with everyone she meets. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, she went on to obtain her law degree to give her a better platform from which she could help others. During her time as a Deputy District Attorney, she served as a member of both the Drug Court and Veteran’s Court teams where she learned the importance of providing guidance and support for those who want to change their lives for the better.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

This old adage is near and dear to Kelsey’s heart. She believes that very few things bring as much satisfaction as obtaining new knowledge, mastering a new skill, or generally bettering oneself in some measurable way. She endeavors to constantly improve herself, and encourages others around her to do the same.

Kelsey firmly believes that you can judge a community by how the least fortunate amongst us are treated. As a Lancaster County native, Kelsey hopes to help local women through the mentorship and education of Second Grace, and in turn, elevate her community as a whole.

Nita Smith – Program Director

Nita Smith’s journey as program coordinator at Second Grace is deeply rooted in her 25 years of service to biological, foster and adoptive children and families. Her experience has provided her with a profound understanding of the complexities and challenges within the child welfare system and the lasting impact on families. At Second Grace, Nita is driven by her passion to empower young mothers and prevent the separation of families. She firmly believes in the transformative power of supportive relationships, which is at the core of Second Grace’s mission to pair at-risk young mothers with caring female mentors.

Beyond her work, Nita finds joy in spending time with her husband, Shawn, and their five adult children. She is also pursuing a master’s in social work degree at Shippensburg University, with an anticipated graduation date in May 2025. Her interests include reading, photography, and cherishing moments with family and friends.

Nita’s dedication to improving the lives of vulnerable families through personal and professional experiences underscores her commitment to creating positive change in her community.

Paul Rouse – Treasurer

“Overcoming poverty is not an act of charity, it is an act of justice.”  Nelson Mandela

Paul grew up in South Africa where he earned qualifications in business and banking. He immigrated to the USA in 2000 and owned small businesses involved in wholesale and publishing. He was treasurer of two community service organizations in his adopted country and is proud to be supporting the vision behind Second Grace. As an adopted child, as well as the father of an adoptee, he recognizes the importance of having a strong role model during one’s formative years and is grateful that the primary focus of Second Grace is to provide such role models to the young mothers who have not been as fortunate as he has.

Karen Jaskot – Member

I believe in the power and strength of the human spirit and families. I have committed myself to working with families, addiction, and mental health conditions my entire career. I know that feeling safe, respected, cared for, and having a vision for how one wants to see their future is key to being healthy and whole. I also believe in the power of community and connectivity because those two things help transform lives and break the isolation many involved in the Child Welfare System feel.

Second Grace is committed to transforming lives and families. It is with excitement and passion that I have committed my time, energy and creativity to this Program and the woman and families it seeks to empower and transform. I do not choose to look at the negative in life or circumstances, but rather all the possibilities.

Anne Frank speaks to my heart and beliefs when she said, “I don’t think of all the misery but of all the beauty that remains.”

There is beauty, hope, and potential in all people and situations. It is my personal hope, and the mission of Second Grace, to transform the lives of woman and families.

Deborah Wilson Gadsden – Member

Deborah Wilson Gadsden, LSW, MSW, is a 46-year veteran of the child welfare workforce.  She has worked in a number of progressively responsible positions.  She is a Training Specialist at Family Design Resources, Inc. where she provides leadership in creating and delivering training as well as developing staff as trainers.  She provides training and consultation in school and workplace bullying prevention.

Deborah is a licensed Social Worker, holds a Master of Social Work degree from Temple University and a Master of Human Services degree from Lincoln University.  When she is not working, she enjoys needle crafts, reading and spending time with her children and grandchildren.  Her interest in Second Grace stems from her long-term commitment to children and families of the child welfare system being treated with social and racial equity.

Lydia Castaneda – Member

Lydia Castaneda has been rooted on Lancaster, PA all of her life. It is her love for her community that drives Lydia to fiercely pursue her work as a Birth & Postpartum Doula with a local non-profit that serves pregnant women in the BIPOC community. Lydia is also a 200hr certified yoga instructor and fitness coach and deeply believes that all people deserve access to a healthy and vibrant life.

Lydia understands on a deep level the struggles of single motherhood as she found herself a mother at 15. Today, Lydia is the mother of two and has been happily married for the last 10 years.

For more information, contact us at:

‭(717) 435-0207‬


501(c) 3 non-profit organization