Staff

Larry Almarode

Executive Director

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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)...

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Learn More About Larry

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. Larry has been diagnosed with Bipolar, Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and a few other Medicaid billable codes. 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. 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.

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Kristin Mullins

Peer Navigator

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Kristin grew up with a traumatic childhood. She received her first mental health diagnosis following a suicide attempt at age eleven, that is also the age she began to abuse substances. Despite the things...

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Learn More About Kristin

Kristin grew up with a traumatic childhood. She received her first mental health diagnosis following a suicide attempt at age eleven, that is also the age she began to abuse substances. Despite the things she had been struggling with she became what most people would consider successful. She was working as a critical care cardiac registered nurse when her illness progressed to include delusions and psychotic features. The identity loss that came from being unable to work as a registered nurse caused her to experience the downward spiral that she calls her rock bottom. She has had multiple psychiatric hospitalizations, and inpatient and outpatient addiction hospitalizations.


One of her hospital stays introduced her to the peer recovery movement through Friends 4 Recovery Whole Health Center. She attributes the jump start of her recovery to the center, where she learned about herself, her illness, coping mechanisms, self-advocacy, and received hope through peers at the center. Since she first came to the center she has blossomed from a frightened little girl that wouldn’t even attend without a family member at her side, to a confident joyful Peer Navigator.


Today she gives back to the peer community. She does In Our Own Voice presentations through the National Alliance of Mental Illness, she is a SMART recovery (Self-Management and Recovery Training) facilitator, and WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) facilitator. She participates in various peer recovery related trainings. She has completed the Peer Recovery Specialist Training through the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and is on her way to completing the peer to peer hours to be state certified. She is involved in her twelve-step fellowship as well and holds service work positions.


Despite not working in the traditional health care role of a nurse she still considers herself a nurse at heart because of her purpose and passion of helping and caring for others. She is living her definition of success which is all about peace of mind, serenity, happiness, and unity with others vs materials and letters behind her name. What she considers to be most successful is to persevere through all of life’s challenges without finding it necessary to use any substances, to find the gratitude and blessing in all situations, to love and embrace herself, her past included, and to inspire hope in others. She loves reading, journaling , cooking, spending time laughing with and growing with her biggest supporters, and her blue brindle pitbull, Bella Rose and her gray tabby cat, Thackery Binx.

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Mina Padilla

Hispanic Peer and Outreach Coordinator

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My name is Guillermina Padilla , I'm originally from Honduras, and moved to Richmond V A in 2001. I'm a Social Worker with many years of experience. I been working for Friends 4 Recovery since...

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Learn More About Mina

My name is Guillermina Padilla , I'm originally from Honduras, and moved to Richmond V A in 2001. I'm a Social Worker with many years of experience. I been working for Friends 4 Recovery since January 2013, my main purpose is to assist the Hispanic Community, providing 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 with out 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. Personal Interest. Family, church, Historical and Astronomy documentaries, Instrumental Music.

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Cliff Connell

Peer and Outreach Coordinator

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Out of high school Cliff worked 22 years as a Master Auto Glass technician and part of the time he was self-employed. After a motorcycle accident in 2002 he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder....

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Learn More About Cliff

Out of high school Cliff worked 22 years as a Master Auto Glass technician and part of the time he was self-employed. After a motorcycle accident in 2002 he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Cliff spent the next 7 years in and out of the hospital and each time it was worse than the last. In 2009 Cliff says he found recovery when he started going to Friend 4 Recovery. Cliff took every training he could in the next 2 years including the Peer Specialist training and he became a board member in 2010. Cliff went back to doing glass work for 2 years but he knew he always wanted to help people with their recovery like he had received. In 2014 Cliff was hired at Friends 4 Recovery as a wellness coach and was certified as a Peer Recovery Specialist in 2016. In 2017 he received a new position at Friend’s as a peer coordinator and now he works with all the Center volunteers to help them get hours for their Peer Recovery Specialist Certification. Cliff is a group facilitator and wellness coach and one of his favorite groups is the “goals group”.

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