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Staff Spotlight: Falonia LaMar

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Falonia LaMar, Casa Di Vita’s new Counselor, has been with Cazenovia Recovery for just over a year. In that time, she has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience. She began her career with our agency at New Beginnings, a community residence for men that closed earlier this summer. “I’m really grateful for my start at New Beginnings,” Falonia said. Ricardo Wright, currently a Counselor Associate at Unity House, was “instrumental” in acclimating her to the agency. She credits the strong foundation Ricardo gave her with being able to be such a positive presence throughout the agency today.

Once New Beginnings closed, she transitioned to our Housing Program where she served as Housing Specialist. However, a new opportunity presented itself at Casa Di Vita, and she decided to trust her instincts and apply. The program, a community residence for women on Buffalo’s West Side, has gone through some transition lately, and Falonia arrived right at the end of it. “I strategically planned out where I could jump in and impact things the most,” she said. Though she advanced in her positions fairly quickly, she remains humble and focused. “I don’t look for all the bells and whistles,” she stated, “I just try to keep people clean.”

Addiction touches the lives of millions of families throughout America, which Falonia knows all too well. She explained what it’s like having a family member struggling with the disease. “I know what addiction can do to families,” she remarked. Thankfully, she remains positive and has allowed her experience with adversity to develop into a desire to assist others. “Even if I can’t help my family,” she said, “I can help someone else’s.”

Falonia is a firm believer that “one person can change the world,” and she is living proof. As a Counselor Associate at New Beginnings, she encountered a resident whose story is unfortunately common. His life was wonderful and he had strong relationships with his family until he was in a car accident. After the accident, his doctor over-prescribed pain medication and when his prescription ran out, he turned to heroin. His life spiraled out of control until he found himself meeting with Falonia at New Beginnings. She noticed he had a desire to get in contact with his mom with whom he hadn’t spoken in years, so Falonia suggested he call her. After the first call, they picked up right where they left off and even hung out together on weekends during his stay at New Beginnings. Thanks to Falonia’s encouragement, the resident re-connected with his mother, who is now a critical piece to his recovery.

Every day, Falonia surrounds herself with inspiration and is incredibly inspirational herself. Her office is filled with uplifting quotes, and she was excited to show off one of her favorites: “nothing is impossible; the word itself says ‘I’m Possible!’” She also finds inspiration in “seeing a person who is hopeless and giving them hope.”

Having found her footing at Casa Di Vita, Falonia looks forward to serving the women at her program with enthusiasm and gratitude. In true Falonia fashion, she knows she has found where she’s meant to be. “We have a full house,” she said. “Life is good right now.”

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