My name is Guillermina Padilla. I'm originally from Honduras and moved to Richmond, VA in 2001. I'm a Social Worker with many years of experience. I've been working for Friends 4 Recovery since January 2013. My main purpose is to assist the Hispanic Community and provide help and support to the unique situation my peers may find themselves in. My priority is to make everyone feel welcome. Friends 4 Recovery is a haven, where people can open up without judgment, finding themselves in the process to solving and overcoming their problems.
Education: Peer Recovery Specialist Appalachian Consulting Training Program. Phlebotomy Técnica Medical Educators LLC. Peer Wellness Training Friends 4 Recovery. Services for the Elderly in the family and the Community. Mashav, Monte Carmel Haifa Israel. Bachelor Degree Social Worker. Honduras National Autonomous University.
Maria has been with Friends 4 Recovery since April 2017, as a volunteer wellness coach. In September 2017, she started working as a Peer Navigator.
I started my journey of recovery on June 19, 2016. I remember this date clearly because it was my last day in the grips of my drug addiction. I lost everything I ever cared about and most of all I lost myself. I self-medicated with street drugs for 10 years.Learn more...
I thought drugs would fix my manic depression and anxiety. I never felt like I belonged and just couldn’t fit in with other kids in school. I was a loner and stayed to myself. I got bullied a lot for my weight and the way I looked, so at the age of 13 I started starving myself, exercising, wearing a lot of makeup, and changed my outfits.
I got introduced to weed and alcohol and felt like it fixed my problems and I finally fit in somewhere. At the age of 17 I got into doing heroin and later on crack-cocaine. I thought everything was great, until I started feeling suicidal and getting into trouble.
I’ve been to the pysch-ward 5 times and been to jail 6 times. It wasn’t until my last time in jail, I knew I needed to do something different.
I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, so when I got out of jail, I moved from Richmond to Hopewell and started over. I started going to Narcotics Anonymous meetings every day. I was later introduced to Peer Support at Friends 4 Recovery. I didn’t know what I was getting into, I just know at that time in my recovery I was dealing with Chronic Back pain and was isolating myself a lot.
Though I was clean from drugs I was miserable in pain. I started volunteering a little bit just to get out of the house. I started attending peer support group and other classes Friends 4 Recovery had. Although I was in pain, I started to feel a little hopeful. My friend said I would be a good Peer Support Specialist and encouraged me to take the course. I eventually did and I loved it. I never would have dreamed about sharing my experience, strength and hope with others and helping them.
My whole life revolves around recovery and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m so glad I found recovery, I can do things that I enjoy doing that keeps me well.
I love fishing, going to the beach or pool tanning and swimming. I love listening to music to help soothe my mind. My favorite animals are White tigers and cats. I like getting artwork inked on my body to remind me of who I am. Shopping and going to the gym on rainy days is a must. My favorite restaurant is Texas Roadhouse! My life is full of gratitude, I am accepted for who I am and finally found somewhere I belong. To anyone who is suffering in silence, there is another way.
Chris came to Friends 4 Recovery in October 2018 as a Peer Navigator. He has spent many years in recovery seeking and maintaining health and wholeness both mentally and physically. Diagnosed with depression and anxiety, Chris has had decades to work on these issues in his life and can easily relate with other people who have similar struggles. He also has a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. He is also been in recovery for alcohol abuse for 20+ years. Some of the tools he uses to maintain his well-being are deep-breathing, Tai Chi, Krav Maga (a martial art), exercise, A.A. meetings, healthy eating and hobbies.Previously, Chris worked for Chesterfield Mental Health Support Services in the substance abuse wing. He served as a Recovery Coach helping those who struggle with substance abuse as well as mental health issues that often accompany addiction. Prior to that, he worked for The Coleman Institute, an outpatient detox center in Richmond, as an Aftercare Manager focusing on providing aftercare plans, recovery coaching, and even shooting videos for the company. Chris holds a Bachelors of Arts in psychology from Radford University and a Master of Divinity from Duke University. He also has completed his initial DBHDS Peer Recovery Specialist Training and is moving forward in the process to become a Certified Peer Support Specialist in Virginia. He will be obtaining his 500 hours of service at Friends 4 Recovery Whole Health Center working with peers and helping them to move forward in a positive direction in spite of mental health and/or addiction struggles. He will be pursuing Trauma-Informed and Intentional Peer Support Training in the coming months and is committed to personal and professional development to better assist peers at Friends 4 Recovery.
Chris holds a Bachelors of Arts in psychology from Radford University and a Master of Divinity from Duke University. He also has completed his initial DBHDS Peer Recovery Specialist Training and is moving forward in the process to become a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist in Virginia. He will be obtaining his 500 hours of service at Friends 4 Recovery Whole Health Center working with peers and helping them to move forward in a positive direction in spite of mental health and/or addiction struggles. He will be pursuing Trauma-Informed and Intentional Peer Support Training in the coming months and is committed to personal and professional development to better assist peers at Friends 4 Recovery.
Chris loves cats, Dallas Cowboy's football, Duke Basketball, practicing Krav Maga, and being a singer/songwriter who plays several instruments. Most of all he enjoys time with his wife, family and friends!
Larry has been a part of Friends 4 Recovery in some role or another since the Spring of 2011. Larry joined Friends 4 Recovery as a Member after his last stay in the CSU (Crisis Stabilization Unit) in Richmond where he had visited for the 4th time in just under 18 months.
Through hard work, self-management and lots of time working on Mindfulness meditation, Larry was released from care in 2013 and worked with his medical professionals to become medication-free since then.
His exposure to meeting other folks with lived experience inspired Larry to pursue opportunities to advocate and work for the expansion of Peer Support services in Virginia. He served as Executive Director of Friends 4 Recovery from 2012-14 and went on to work for Arlington County CSB as part of a PCBHI (Primary Care Behavioral Health Initiative) grant from SAMHSA as a Peer Health Navigator where he facilitated WHAM and other recovery related classes in multiple peer environments. He went from there to work with Magellan of Virginia as a Peer Navigator on the GAP (Governor’s Access Program) program in Virginia.
Larry was part of the team that developed the standards for their Warmline. Larry quit smoking after 30 years and started vaping. Larry hasn’t touched a cigarette in 2 years. This inspired him to open up an eliquid manufacturing company which provided product to 5 stores in Virginia and North Carolina. He closed his company in August, 2015 due to extraordinary FDA regulations.
Larry returned to Friends 4 Recovery as a Board Member in December 2015 and was rehired as Executive Director in March, 2017. Other contributions Larry has made to the Peer Community is serving as a Peer on the Virginia BHAC (Behavioral Health Advisory Council) as Secretary and Member since 2013 and serving as a Subject Matter Expert for IC&RC in the development of the International Peer Support Certification test. He is a trained WRAP facilitator, DBHDS Tot of Peer Recovery Specialist in the state of Virginia, International Peer Recovery Support Specialist and Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist in Louisiana. He has taken several other Recovery oriented trainings as well.
Larry loves Chihuahua’s, good food, time spent with friends and family and does his best to live life moment by moment.