Until 2015, FOR-NY consisted of a volunteer Board of Directors committed to raising awareness and support for Recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs throughout New York State. Today, with the support of a professional staff, the Board remains dedicated to advancing the FOR-NY mission and guiding the continued growth of the organization.
CHACKU MATHAIFOR-NY Board President
Chacku Mathai is person in recovery, currently serving as Board President and is one of the founding board members of FOR-NY. Chacku started his recovery advocacy journey when he was 15 years old by joining a small group of students of recovery and their families in Rochester, NY who organized the Students of Brighton Encourage Recovery (SOBER) Barn in November, 1985. The SOBER Barn was the first example of a Recovery Community Organization in NYS dedicated to and operated by young people in recovery.
Chacku’s personal experiences as a youth and young adult with racism, xenophobia, trauma, suicide attempts, and serious mental health and substance use conditions, launched Chacku and his family toward a number of efforts to advocate for recovery-oriented services, inclusive social conditions, and wholistic alternative supports in the community.
He has since accumulated over thirty-five years of experience in his personal recovery, systems advocacy, and organizational leadership. Chacku’s advocacy and leadership continue in his roles on local and statewide police and crisis response initiatives, and across the country as a National Advisory Council member for the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health in Texas and the National Center on Advancing Person-Centered Practices and Systems. Chacku is also an appointed member of the New York State Integrated Block Grant Committee and the NYS Behavioral Health Services Advisory Council.
Vice President: ERIC W. DYERJ.D., M.B.A., Associate, Casner & Edwards
Eric Dyer is an attorney and practices at the law firm Casner & Edwards, where he is an Associate in its Nonprofit Organization Group. Eric graduated from Albany Law School and Clarkson University in 2016 with a Juris Doctor and Masters in Business Administration in Healthcare Management. Prior to graduate school, Eric attended Union College, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 2013. Eric grew up outside of Boston, MA and now lives in Albany, NY. Eric is proud to be a person in long-term recovery.
Board Secretary: ANNEMARIE BRIGNONI
Stephanie is a full-time Bilingual Peer Specialist at the Institute for Family Health at the Center for Counseling at Walton, OnTrackNY since November 2017.
Stephanie has 40 years of experience in community organizing the non-profit and public sector in the capacity of administrative, direct line social service worker (i.e., bilingual case manager, clinical supervisor, group facilitator and peer specialist) and teaching experience in the performing arts, recovery communities, academia, and afterschool settings. In addition, Stephanie has worked for state and municipal organizations in Africa, Central America and throughout the United States.
Stephanie earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in interdisciplinary studies/ minor – alternative therapies from Long Island University, completed a certificate program in Non-Profit Management at Columbia Graduate Business School and a Candidate for a Master of Arts degree in social justice and community organizing at Prescott College.
I have been in the behavioral health field for over 14yrs where I was able to obtain CASAC certification and after semi-retirement due to health issues, decided to become a CRPA to continue helping the population that we serve at a different level.
I have 18 yrs in Recovery. My pathway to recovery was through abstinence based treatment and MAT. (Methadone). I am currently working as a CRPA/Supervisor Peer Services at Samaritan Daytop Village Independence in the Bronx.
I am the Chairperson for the Alumni Association of NYS
I co-chair for consumers at the Bronx Council on Alcohol and substance use disorder and recently appointed FOR NY Board Member.
I am on the OASAS/DOHMH/OMH BRSS (Bringing Recovery Support to Scale) NYS EPICS (Employing Peers in Community Services) team, RIT member and a member of the Bronx Opioid Collective Impact Project where we do community outreach twice a week to provide the homeless (MH/SUD) population with daily living needs, harm reduction material, food and information on treatment and Recovery support services available to them and the community.
Past President, Charles J. Devlin, Vice President of Substance Abuse & Development, Brightpoint Health, New York City
Past President, Laura Elliott-Engel, MA, CASAC-G, LMHC
FRIENDS OF RECOVERY – NEW YORK BOARD OF DIRECTORS INTEREST FORM