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 a 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.

SARAH AHMEDPeer Recovery Support Specialist
Sarah Ahmed-Weidman came to FOR-NY as an Intern in 2020 and a family member in recovery. At FOR-NY, she was a Youth Voices Matter Intern and worked with staff to strengthen the YVM program and later became an Education and Training Intern, working with Theresa Knorr to create and develop training.

Sarah is pursuing her Master’s at the University of Minnesota studying human development, focusing on psychopathology. She is passionate about ensuring that people with lived experience are heard and seen- not just talked about. Currently, she coordinates the CRPA Scholarship Program to help those who are interested in becoming CRPAs accomplish that goal.

NANCY LEONProject Assistant
Nancy Leon is a dedicated Executive Assistant with 20+ years of experience. Prior to working for FOR-NY, her past employment in multiple fields
included the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS). With a family member in recovery, one of her goals is to develop not only a better
understanding of substance use disorder, but also the available treatments options that exist.

She earned an Associate’s degree in Applied Science / Human Services.

Originally from Philadelphia, Nancy enjoys spending time with her family and pursuing her passion in interior/exterior design.

She has been a Sunday school teacher and girl scout troop leader in the past. 

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 M. KNORR, CARC RCP-FSenior Director of Recovery Education & Training
Theresa is a family member in recovery, a family member of loss, and works her own process addiction and mental health recovery programs. She came to FOR-NY in 2016, with almost three decades of professional experience in addiction treatment, and was promoted to Senior Director of Recovery Education & Training in 2023.  Theresa has developed and trained curriculum focused on personal growth for over 20 years.  She has volunteered in the community as a Recovery Advocate since 2015 and has been teaching meditation and esoteric psychology since 2002.

As a former Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) in New York and CADAC in Arizona, Theresa has professional experience as a clinician, a clinical supervisor and program director.  She is an InUnity-NYCB registered trainer, a CCAR Recovery Coach Professional – Facilitator, and served as a subject matter expert in the development of the Peer Supervision Professional certification for ASAP-NYCB.

Ms. Knorr’s previous employers include Pahl, Inc., Hope House, Hudson Mohawk Recovery Center, Equinox and Transitional Services Association, Inc. (Hedgerow House). She is currently a Certified Addiction Recovery Coach (CARC) and owner of BALANCE Recovery Consultation | “Tai Chi for Recovery” and has been teaching Tai Chi in a variety of community settings since 2001.

MARY MAHERFinance Generalist
Mary Maher is the Finance Generalist for FOR-NY. Her professional philosophy is to treat others well, complete each task to the best of her ability and ask questions. Mary works as an in-house bookkeeper and is responsible for accounts payable and recording daily business transactions. She attended college earning a degree in Business Administration. Mary has served in the private sector and government agencies working her way from receptionist positions to office management roles. Mary has experience personal to her involving alcoholism and drug addiction and is eager to advocate for those that suffer. She is a wife, mother, swimmer, runner and cyclist.
ANTHONY SHOWARDDirector of Communications, Website and I.T.

Youth Voices Matter + New York Team

CHELSEA KEHRLIYouth/Young Adult Education & Training Coordinator
In 2017, Chelsea began her own recovery journey at the young age of 26 as a person who used substances for half of her life. After a few years of actively working to get back on her feet with the support of others, she eventually was led to a career in supporting others in the recovery field.

Today, Chelsea loves hiking mountains (literal and metaphorical), creating art in all forms, spending time with loved ones adventuring, and sparking deep conversations with her peers about life in recovery. She is a true advocate who values collaboration, and understands firsthand how integral connection, safe spaces, and support for young people can be.

Chelsea feels grateful for the opportunity today, to be the person that she needed when she was younger. She is currently the Youth and Young Adult Education & Training Coordinator for Youth Voices Matter, NY where she gets to use her lived experience to promote courageous conversations, and encourage young people to bring their best selves to the table while embracing their autonomy.

MORGAN THOMPSONYouth/Young Adult Recovery Program Outreach and Engagement Coordinator
Morgan Thompson is a local graduate from the College of Saint Rose with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Forensic Psychology. She has a long-standing background working with at-risk youth in community outreach long before finding her niche in rehabilitation and recovery. Her efforts have helped emerging adults establish their role in determining what is both required and desired to achieve the change they want to see, and even be, in their communities. She is confident that her knowledge and skill-set will help to continue achieving the goals set out by the young advocates of Youth Voices Matter.

Morgan first started her work at a small wellness camp for inner-city children ages 12-18 to identify that there are options and resources available to them despite what they might have been told or even believed was possible for themselves. Being a mentee in, and then later a mentor for, this same program allowed her the opportunity to see how peer-to-peer advocacy and youth voice collaboratives can truly make huge impacts on sustainable change in various communities, and is what drove her to wanting to pursue a career in advocacy and human services after high school.

Since graduating, in 2021, she has continued to work in mental health and human services to aid in providing stellar resources so people can have easier access to the wellness and health care options they believe best fits their needs. Morgan has joined FOR-NY in hopes of continuing this same support in advocacy, de-stigmatization, and delivery of compassionate care to the youth in recovery.

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.

“FOR-NY is about the people and the policy, we work to ensure that policy is shaped by the people and for the people”

~ Rachelle Brown

“FOR-NY is about the people and the policy, we work to ensure that policy is shaped by the people and for the people”

~ Rachelle Brown