We work to demonstrate the power and promise of Recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs, and the value Recovery provides to individuals, families, and entire communities throughout New York State.

Dr. Smith-Wilson brings over 20 years of human service and addiction experience to Friends of Recovery-New York. Angelia’s career spans across working with human service agencies that have served individuals with mental health, substance use, residential, and homeless issues. She has worked as an intensive case manager, a primary therapist, a director of client services and eventually progressing to level of vice president throughout the greater Rochester area.

Angelia has centered her career around improving treatment outcomes for those in recovery, as well as exploring research designed at substance use counselor development. Her doctoral dissertation, entitled, “Examining the Relationship between the Substance Abuse Counselor Knowledge of the Models of Disability and their self-assessment of cultural competence working with the Deaf Sign Language User,” afforded her the opportunity to learn and study addictions from the counselor’s perspective.

Dr. Smith-Wilson has a B.S. in Psychology from SUNY Brockport, Master of Social Work from Roberts Wesleyan College and a Doctorate in Education from St. John Fisher College. Dr. Smith-Wilson is adjunct faculty at the School of Social Welfare, Graduate MSW Program, University of Albany, where she teaches Macro Practice Social Work.

Dr. Smith-Wilson comes to us from her most recent position as the Assistant Director of Local Program Operations at the New York State Office for the Aging, within the Local Programs Division.

Christopher hails from the New York State Senate, where he worked in Senate Revision. There, he was an essential member of the team, analyzing, verifying and approving legislation for introduction for all members of the Senate. His position was integral on budgetary and legislative matters, in a bi-partisan fashion, allowing him to formulate working relationships with Senators and staff as well as different divisions of government.

Christopher is no stranger to advocacy, having developed and planned advocacy campaigns for a local nonprofit based in Albany where he was Program Manager prior to his work in the NYS Legislature. As Program Manager, he founded and led a steering committee which helped foster advocacy while promoting empowerment for individuals with disabilities. He was responsible for all advocacy efforts and planned many advocacy events, including lobby days at the capitol.

Advocating for recovery efforts is not only extremely important to Christopher, but it is personal. Christopher is in long term recovery and credits a wonderful support system and access to resources as critical to his recovery. Personally, he is a graduate of the University at Albany, loves his dogs, is an avid hiker and weather watcher. He is honored to be part of the effort to make sure that everyone has access to recovery in their own way.

JENNIFER DONADIOProject Director - Rural Recovery
Jennifer Donadio came to Friends of Recovery – New York as an MSW intern in 2020. Since then, she has advanced her career with FOR-NY by serving in several capacities including Interim Coordinator of the Alumni Association of New York State and Interim Communications Manager. Currently, Jennifer utilizes her social work background as our HRSA Project Director, overseeing training and mentorship programs across rural New York.

Jennifer is graduate of SUNY Ulster with an A.S. in Liberal Arts & Science with a Certificate in Sign Language Interpreting and an A.A.S. in Human Services with a Certificate in Direct Care Practice. She also earned her BSW and MSW through University at Albany.

Jennifer is passionate about exploring intersectional identities and the unique experiences of the recovery community. In her personal time, Jennifer is a supporter of the art of drag and affectionately has two cats named Coco Peru and Sashay.

ANDRÉA C. WESTChief of Operations
Andréa C. West is a native of Albany, New York. She is a third-generation civil servant who is committed to providing training and coaching to underserved populations in order to help them navigate professionally as well as in their everyday lives. She is a family member in recovery and has been a longstanding advocate for the recovery community.

Ms. West began her educational advancement on the campus of Virginia Union University, located in Richmond, Virginia and has worked in Public Administration for over 22 years. She has held several positions in city, state, and local government such as: Administrative Assistant to late Chair of the New York State Assembly Ways and Means Committee, the Honorable Herman “Denny” Farrell, Jr.; Payroll and Accounts Payable Administrator and Personnel Assistant for the City of Albany. Most recently, Ms. West served as the Assistant Director of Human Resources for the City School District of Albany and was responsible for overseeing benefits administration for over 1800 employees, FMLA, workers’ compensation, civil service, contract negotiations, recruitment, teacher certifications, and employee trainings.

Ms. West is an active member of the community and has served in various capacities. In January 2016, she was appointed to the Diversity Council for the Alzheimer’s Association of Northeastern New York. She has volunteered with Equinox for over 20 years; tutored elementary and middle school children; helped build homes with Capital District Habitat for Humanity; and facilitated workshops for teens on etiquette, police contact, and conflict resolution. Most notably, Ms. West was elected city-wide to serve a five-year term as Albany Public Library Board Trustee for the City of Albany, NY in June 2022.

Ms. West fundamentally believes “It is important to lead by example and not be afraid to share your mistakes with others. We learn from our mistakes. If I can help someone by sharing my failures and missteps; then I have done a good service.” She also believes “It is better not to make a vow, than to make a vow and break it.” If she makes a commitment to do something, it gets done!

Ms. West is the proud mother of two sons, Bakari and Amir.

THERESA KNORRDirector of Recovery Education & Training
Theresa is a family member in recovery and works her own process addiction recovery program. She comes to FOR-NY with over 30 years of professional experience in counseling, coaching and case management, specializing in addiction treatment and recovery. She has been teaching, training & developing curriculum focused on wellness, staff and client self-care, relapse prevention and personal growth for more than 15 years. She has also been volunteering in the community teaching meditation and esoteric pyschology for over 17 years. As a former Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) in New York and CADAC in Arizona, Theresa has been a clinician, a clinical supervisor and program director. Ms. Knorr’s previous employers include Pahl, Inc., Hope House, Hudson Mohawk Recovery Center, Equinox and Hedgerow House (Transitional Services Association, Inc.). She is currently owner of BALANCE Recovery Consultation | “Tai Chi for Recovery”.
MELISSA FLECKDirector of Communications and Social Outreach
Melissa Fleck is a person living in sustained recovery living in Albany, NY. What that means to her is that she no longer puts substances in her body that could cause harm to her or anyone else. Today, she prioritizes her wellness as her foundation for supporting her community.

For the last 10 years Melissa has been working in the nonprofit sector on a variety of social issues within her local community, statewide and nationally. In her time working in the field, she has developed a deep understanding of community organizing, volunteer leadership development, communications, and public policy.

Personally, Melissa is a homeowner, pet lover and reputable member of the local recovery community. In her free time, she enjoys yin & kundalini yoga, indoor spin class, power lifting and sharing meals with her loved ones. Artistically she’s tapping into creativity in photography. Outdoor activities are her favorite, but her heart belongs to the top of a snowy mountain in the middle of winter.

Youth Voices Matter + New York Team

ASHTON DALEYYouth Recovery Program Coordinator
Ashton Daley (he/him/his) is a proud member of the Recovery community, Transgender and Queer community, a passionate advocate, and currently serves as the Youth Recovery Program Coordinator for Youth Voices Matter-NY, the youth program within Friends of Recovery-NY.

His educational background highlights Ashton earning his Bachelor’s degree in Social work at Slippery Rock University, then his Master’s degree in Social Work with a MACRO concentration at University at Albany. Along the way, Ashton has earned certifications in Psychological First Aid, Human Services Management, and is a provisional Certified Recovery Peer Advocate.

In his professional career, Ashton has held multiple positions working with a wide range of populations including youth, the elderly, people experiencing addiction and people in recovery, people living with Alzheimer’s, and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, all of whom include those who have the lived experience ranging across all gender, sexuality, racial, ethnic, and religious identities.

Ashton is a firm believer in being of service to the community around him. He holds multiple service positions through his recovery program, volunteers in the community, and serves as a volunteer youth mentor for trans-identifying young people in the Capital Region.

MORGAN THOMPSONYouth & Young Adult Recovery Program Support Specialist

Alumni Association of New York State

WILVENA GORDONAlumni Association of New York State Coordinator
Ms. Gordon is a person in long term recovery who has done service commitments for the addiction recovery community continuously since 1986, including Public Relations coordination on the multi-state, Regional and Zonal level for the past four years. Ms. Gordon taught as a Lecturer at Queensborough Community College and was a public school English teacher for over 20 years.
Ms. Gordon has extensively traveled in relation to professional addiction recovery service in Thailand, Indonesia, Switzerland, Poland, Canada, and Peru. Ms. Gordon is a graduate of Harvard College, Bank Street College of Education and has graduate course work at New York University, Oxford University and Columbia University Business School. Ms. Gordon is a mother of three sons. She sponsors women internationally and is an ally of the LGBTQ community.

“It’s an honor to be part of an organization that is leading the way and doing wonderful things in the community”

~ Rachelle Brown

“It’s an honor to be part of an organization that is leading the way and doing wonderful things in the community”

~ Rachelle Brown