CFLR In Action

Hello from our Prevention Department!

Cortney Kleek - Education MVCC Human Services and Chemical Dependency Dual Major.  Following college, I was offered the Prevention Specialist position at CFLR in March of 2019, in 11 months’ time I was promoted to Senior Prevention Specialist (my current position).  I have a passion for working with youth who have suffered traumatic experiences and addiction, which is why I love doing prevention programming for the schools and community.  In my free time, I enjoy hanging around family and friends.  I look forward to growing my career in the field and furthering my education.

Lauren Platt - Education - I attended Mohawk Valley Community College, where I graduated in 2013 with my AAS in Human Services.  Work history - I worked for a number of years for Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield as a customer care advocate until deciding to stay home to care for my children for a few years.  Then in September of 2019 I accepted the position of part time Prevention Specialist at Center for Family Life and Recovery.  Just a few short months later I was offered the full time position, which I happily accepted.  I really enjoy working for this agency, and am thrilled to be making such a difference in our community.  I look forward to growing with this agency, and being able to reach even more people of our community with prevention services, as well as the parenting and family services that I provide through evidence based programming. When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my two sons, ages 17 and 12, and my friends and family.

David Garrett
Bachelors - SUNY Geneseo
Masters - Bowling Green State University, Ohio

Worked in universities for forty years.  Bowling Green, University of Wisconsin, SUNY Cortland, Wesley College, Delaware, SUNYIT (SUNY Polytechnic Institute) for the last 34 years.  Worked in Student Affairs as Director of Residence Life, Assistant Dean of Students, Director of Orientation, Director of Student Life, Director of Counseling, and Director of International Student Services.
Outside activities: American Pheasant and Waterfowl Association, Western New York Pheasant and Waterfowl Society, Adirondack Avicultural Society, Barneveld Horsemen's Association, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's - Ride for Missing Children and Community Outreach Speaker.


My name is Brandi Lyons.  I was born in Rome New York on April 8, 1987.  I was raised in Rome, New York along with my three siblings.  I graduated from Rome Free Academy in June of 2005.  I have always had a passion for working with people and making a positive impact on my community.  I jumped into the workforce directly following graduation and I have worked in the human service field ever since!  I am the proud mother of two amazing children (Tiana and Justyce) who keep me motivated and determined to reach my goals.  In my free time I enjoy spending time with my fiancé, our children, and our two poodles (Ginger and Stormy).  We love a good game of Skip-bo!  Motherhood has taught me many things including the importance of education and following through with the goals that I set for myself.  With that I went on to further my education and graduated from Mohawk Valley Community College in 2018 with an Associate’s Degree in Human Services.  I joined the Center for Family Life and Recovery Inc. family in September of 2019 as The Compeer Specialist.  I am Currently enrolled in SUNY Empire State college and I look forward to graduating in December 2020 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services and Community.

Hi Everyone!
My name is Miranda Carpenter, and I just recently joined CFLR’s Utica Prevention team this July.  I am very excited to begin my journey with each and every one of you.  I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to build endless relationships and to be able to provide some of the best tools in the shed to help our community members both adult and youth, make better choices so that you can live a higher quality of life.  During times of uncertainty we all could use some reassurance, and most importantly tools to balance our mental health.  Please be on the lookout for additional resources as I get started, as well as invitations for events!  Thank you for taking the time to read; and always remember, when there’s help, there’s hope.

Joe Passalacqua - Ed. MVCC and Utica college, work history, started at Neighborhood Center as a Case Manager – 2 years.  Went on to Oneida Co. Dept of Mental Health, - 5 years.  Mohawk Valley Psych. Center Intensive Case Manager – 30 years retired.  Started teaching the Impaired driving program for the Council on Alcoholism and Addiction in the mid 80s – present.  That agency rolled into our current agency CFLR.  After retirement I assumed the roll of coodinator for the IDP program.  I enjoy spending time with family and friends, and look forward to each season of Syracuse football.

Posted by Dominica Liscio in CFLR In Action

A little something from our Recovery Department :)

I believe everyone is in recovery from something.  To be human means to experience loss, heartbreak, disappointments, and failure.  My personal recovery has been learning how to love myself and embracing my inner Goddess amidst my heartbreaks, losses, disappointments and most importantly learning how to love myself in my failures.  Change is uncomfortable and I no longer have to use substances to numb the discomforts that change can bring, I am dedicated to helping others learn how to navigate through their own recovery journey and to achieve a sound, fulfilled and purposeful life.  Recovery is possible! Change is possible!  I am a person who is willing to do the hard work to make positive change and achieve a life only recovery can bring!  How can I help you in your recovery journey?

Hello everyone!  My name is Katie Burns and I’m a CRPA-P in the Recovery Department here at CFLR.  It is my own personal mission to strengthen and maintain my community connections in the recovery world and man does this profession help me show case that!!  I am a single mommy to a funny, smart, active 8 year old who I can hardly keep up with but I sure do try!  Since being on my recovery journey I have met the most amazing people who have really helped enhance my new way of life.  But, it’s not always serious.  I’m the class clown.  I enjoy being the reason someone laugh’s today.  I love spontaneous hiking trips, and beach days, really anything outdoors and with my family and friends!  I strive to do better for myself and my son every single day. 

My name is Michelle Engelbrecht and I work in the Recovery Department as a Recovery Peer Advocate.  I am new to the agency but I am loving my new role.  I have dealt with addiction and recovery in one form or another for most of my life, including my own personal experience.  I have been in recovery myself since 2009 and strive to help others suffering from addiction.  I have been blessed to build an amazing life for myself, through recovery, that I truly believe I can share my experience, strength, and hope to help others see that it is possible to find a new way to live.  I am excited to be a part of an agency that feels the same way.

My name is Tim Skinner. I am a Certified Recovery Peer Advocate employed at the Center for Family Life and Recovery.

I was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I received my HS Diploma from Marshall University HS. After HS, I enlisted into the United States Army and I am a 10 year veteran.

Due to a bad decision in my life, I was incarcerated for many years. While incarcerated, I earned an Associate of Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree.

I have successfully completed Adult Substance Abuse Treatment and have been in recovery since 1996. Other positive responsibilities that I held while incarcerated were College Tutor, preparing college applicants to take the entrance exams, working with inmates who had mental health and behavioral issues.

After my release from incarceration, I entered society unsure of what my future would be like. Society had changed in many ways without me. Technology was beyond my reach and I had no idea of how even a cell phone worked.

A therapist once told me not to stress over the things that are different, but to embrace the things that are the same, and that I will adapt to the changes over time. I had followed that bit of advice and it has served me well. I had adapted well in my reintegration into society. I asked for help when I needed it and always tried to maintain a positive attitude. I knew the things that I could control and the things I could not.

My involvement with CFLR started as soon as I was released as I was a client there. Everyone at CFLR was courteous and non-judgemental and really cared for my well-being. I decided that I would do some volunteer work for them and I signed up. I was involved in packing up Thanksgiving supplies for families in need and I also did some fund-raising mailings. But I wanted to do more and made that known. I received a call one day from a wonderful Peer advocate at CFLR and she interviewed me about my recovery journey and recommended me to join the Recovery Collaborative. I am now a CRPA-P and could not be prouder to be affiliated with the wonderful people at CFLR.

Posted by Dominica Liscio in CFLR In Action

Let’s Talk About LOVE

During this time and anytime it is so important to spread love. When you feel you need some love. Please visit us at Center for Family Life and Recovery, Inc. as we will be sharing this message of love regularly over the next few weeks. Take care of yourselves and one another. Love, Cassandra

“We were born with two ears and one mouth so we could listen more than we can speak” (Epictetus, Greek Philosopher). In the world of motivational interviewing, LOVE is an action word made up of four verbs: L to Listen, O to Offer, V to validate and E to empathize. Motivational Interviewing emphasizes the “spirit” of how we are with people, being able to empathize with them and walk side by side with them in their journey, and most importantly to LISTEN to them. If only we could take these action steps, walk side by side with others, and empathize with their situation, what a wonderful world this would be.

Posted by Dominica Liscio in CFLR In Action

Coming Together

Coming Together



Posted by Dominica Liscio in CFLR In Action

#VirtualHighFive – Prevention Week Addition

#VirtualHighFive – Prevention Week Addition

It’s National Prevention Week and CFLR’s Prevention Team wants to connect with the community.  The Virtual High Five was created to bring us together during this unprecedented time.  Get your families and/or pets involved in #VirtualHighFive!

Do the right thing and stop the spread!



Posted by Dominica Liscio in CFLR In Action, News