Named at birth: Richard Anthony Snook

Called in grade school: Ricky Snook

For a decade or so in my yogic youth: Surendra

Current designation: Rick Snook

Nobody calls me Tony. The Anthony middle name comes from my grandfather, Tonus Augustus Snook (not kidding).

I am a normal looking white guy in his 50s. Just goes to show that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.

I have been playing guitar and writing songs (badly) since I was 12.

I am kind of shy but passionate about some things- especially if they relate to justice, freedom, mental health, self-determination and peace.

I have a family; 2 grown son’s, a dead daughter, (divorced from their mother, Julie). I am recently married (in August 2014) to Candace. Pictures later.


I am involved in an annual tadpole rescue… a hobby I guess. I’ve identified particular ditches and seasonal ponds/ wetlands, spawning ground for local tree frogs that reliably dry up before the young amphibians therein can mature; leaving a yearly high death toll. Every year I move anywhere from a few dozen to a hundred or more of the little guys (and gals) to tanks or more dependable ponds. With my tanks I just feed them in a filtered environment and they climb out and hop away when they grow legs and lose their tails.

This is what they look like:

In my early years (age 16 through mid 20s) I was a member of Ananda Marga Pracarika Samgha- it had a major influence on my life. Here are some links about that:

My current spiritual community is Multnomah Monthly Meeting/ Religious Society of Friends. My spirituality is also informed by my study of yoga,meditation, Buddhism, Chinese language and literature and, mostly, my own experiences.

Some links about Friends (Quakers):

I have spent most of my working life with people who have disabilities. I have an MS in Special Education with an emphasis on vocational/ supported employment type services. Over the past several years as my career in developmental disabilities has repeatedly been demolished by my mental health issues, I have become more involved in mental health services. I’ve also reached a point where I feel generally pretty on top of how to stay well. Better late than never.

I am working now as a peer recovery specialist at Oregon State Hospital (since 10/31/08). This is the place where people go if they have been declared Guilty Except for Insanity (GEI) after committing some kind of crime. It has been in the papers a lot but generally not for being a healing place. I have a great job- I get to provide support, advocacy and some educational services for the people who live here. It is both wonderful and dreadful. The state hospital is improving gradually (with prodding from the US Department of Justice) but for many who are incarcerated here it is a place of misery and hopelessness. There are 2 of us working as recovery specialists for over 440 human beings.  On a good day I get to be one of the only water-coolers in hell. On a bad day I’m one of the only water-coolers in hell.

Here is an old resume, not including the new job. It doesn’t highlight/ indicate the years I spent dealing (poorly) with non-wellness of the mind, building and rebuilding my career between mental health train-wrecks.

Rick Snook

Goal: To apply my skills in mental health recovery, self-help, training, coordination, community resources and self-directed supports to promote the inclusion of all people of the community in the choices and decisions that affect their lives.

Education: B.A. Arts and Letters, High Honors, PSU 1977

M.S. Education, Special Education/ Counseling Program, PSU 1978

Training: I have had a 34 year career in mental health and cognitive disabilities, often on the cutting edge of implementing new service approaches. This has given me the opportunity to receive and provide training in a wide range of areas. I have attended seminars, classes, certification workshops and symposiums on topics including (but not limited to) time study, task analysis, supported employment, parent teaching, in-home parenting support, business management, horticulture, forestry, public relations, grant-writing, rural model services, person centered planning, mental health treatment strategies, drug rehabilitation counseling, non-profit planning and budgeting, payroll management, self-directed supports and early childhood education. I have provided training to large and small groups in most of these same areas.

Work Highlights:

2006-present- Program Facilitator/ Graduate Advisor at Empowerment Initiatives, a multi- service peer operated program providing support and training for people with mental health issues. Services and supports have included a self-directed supports brokerage, a peer advocacy training program (REAL), a collaborative project with PSU teaching individuals with mental health challenges to utilize the Personal Care Attendant program and an interactive theatre project that enables participants to use dramatic theater as a means of expressing and healing past trauma.

2004-2006- Served on the Board of Directors for Empowerment Initiatives. During this period I also did private technical assistance on self-directed supports.

2001-2004 – Executive Director of Inclusion, Inc., a support services brokerage serving people with developmental disabilities. Inclusion was the first new brokerage to open in the state of Oregon as part of the Staley lawsuit settlement, which, made support services available to everyone with developmental disabilities on a self-determined basis. Responsible for founding program, developing and operating all aspects of organization, implementing goals of Universal Access to Support Services including staff selection, training, supervision and review; oversight of contracted and later in-house fiscal intermediary services; development of Board; quality assurance programs and other program elements. Played a leading role statewide in planning, evaluating and re-visioning operational structures. (Portland, OR)

2000-2001 – Support Broker at Self-Determination Resources, Inc. (SDRI). Assisted customers to identify and develop support plans; find, select and contract with providers; negotiate and secure support through a variety of sources; provide technical support to facilitate achievement of plan goals and maintain on-going quality assurance.

1999-2000 – Director of Family Support Programs as part of Community Action Team including programs for family literacy, parenting and other programs aimed at providing support and training to at-risk families, teen parents and families in crisis. The program was effective at inter-agency collaboration with partners (e.g. Adult and Family Services, Services to Children and Families, Head Start, Health Department Mental Health Services and Schools). Provided 2 alternative High School programs for teen parents. (Ranier, OR)

1997-1999 – Executive Director of Adult Learning Systems, later Adult Learning Systems of Oregon. I was responsible for overall management of agency with over 100 employees and 42 residential customers. Joining the company when it was a subsidiary of a National organization I rebuilt the agency as a stand-alone (501©3) Oregon Corporation effectively securing all of the agency’s existing contracts and added 2 more. (Portland, OR)

1995-1997 – Employee Relations Manager of Northwest Software, Inc. (NSI). NSI provides software Engineering consultation to northwest and national high-technology companies. I was responsible for all payroll, billing and employee/ personnel relations for 95 software engineers and 25 corporate customers including Intel, ADP, IBM and the US Army. (Portland, OR)

1987-1995 – Founder, President and CEO of Alternative Employment Systems (AES). AES provided employment support to people with severe and multiple disabilities. Developed all budgets, employee manuals, administrative policies and training programs. Managed staff including professional development program, compliance with laws and regulations, fiscal accountability, contracting and quality assurance. (Portland, OR)

1986-1987 – Research Assistant with OHSU University Affiliated Program. I was responsible for developing new technologies for supporting people with disabilities in community employment settings. Our focus was on serving individuals who had not previously been successful in employment or who were considered too disabled to participate in community settings. (Portland, OR)

1984-1986 – Director of Highland Adult Activity Program (HAAP). Part of a community resource center located in the Martin Luther King Neighborhood Facility, HAAP was a day activity program serving individuals with developmental disabilities. Services included recreation, work skills training and job placement. While at HAAP I worked with the Directors of 2 other local agencies to develop the state’s first employment enclave at Mentor Graphics in Beaverton.

1981-1984 – Co-Founder, Coordinator and Trainer for Greenleaf Industries. Greenleaf is a wholesale/ retail bedding plant nursery, landscape and forestry contractor that provides employment for individuals with disabilities. Greenleaf is one of the largest nurseries of it’s type in Southern Oregon. (Grants Pass, OR)

1978-1981 – Developed and operated the Josephine Portage Project (JPP). Working with rural area families, JPP provided parenting training and support to families with children who had disabilities. Our primary goal was to teach parent to teach their children to achieve basic milestones including walking, speech and cognitive development. (Grants Pass, OR)

Ancient history:

—1955-1978 –

I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. My dad was a career navy guy. We moved back to my folks’ home town, Portland and vicinity, when I was 5. I grew up on 59th and Davis St. and went to Mt. Tabor Grade School from Kindergarten through 8th grade.

After graduating from HS (Adams High, no longer in existence & Washington High, no longer in existence; if you want to see what Adams looked like, the abandoned building was used by Gus Van Sant when he filmed Elephant) my first real job was as an outreach youth peer-counselor for the SE Portland Youth Services Program.

I also did volunteer work at schools- m0stly special ed, during the year I didn’t go to school. My volunteering led me to a summer job at the Kiwanis Camp (for kids and adults with disabilities) at Rhododendron, OR. This led to my going to school at PSU- it’s an interesting story I won’t elaborate on yet.

The long-story-short is that I worked my way through school mostly working in Group Homes, including one I set up myself.

10 responses to “Me

  1. xxxxxxxxxx

    yours passwords are visible in the network, you need to change.

    Username: rickpdx
    Password: d6—-9

  2. It’s a very nice and interesting blog.
    I had been read some, Chinese poetry, buddhism…also listening to Tibetan song.
    I will be back to read more.

    Janjarus (mean bright moon)

  3. Lonefir - Kevin Fitts

    Some very interesting content. I am especially interested in your work on this project….

    1975-1978 – Developed and operated Clear Horizon House (CHH), a residential training home for young adults with cognitive and psychiatric disabilities. I started this non-profit organization while still an undergraduate at PSU. All of the residents moved into more independent settings upon completion of the program.

  4. Jeff Randall

    You forgot great babysitter to oldest nephew. (I remember watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang one night when my mom went out.)

  5. Leocadia

    Hi Rick,
    I found your beautiful blog quite by accident while shopping for animated gifs. I was touched by the way you described your family, 2 grown sons, a dead daughter, and a wife and that’s what made me want to be a follower of your blog. We lost our 21 year old grandson in a car crash in 2007 and it is my first experience with real grief. I’m also interested in so many of the topics you have here: mental health, cognitive issues, religion, poetry and more. I have very mild Asperger’s or HFA but have only recently been diagnosed professionally though I self diagnosed in 2007 about a month before losing our grandson. Just wanted to say hello and ask if it’s alright to borrow some of your gifs now and then.
    Stay well, Leocadia

    • rick s

      Absolutely. And thanks for your kind words. Grief is hard, but life is beautiful. At this time when I look on my life, even those moments when I was suicidal and crazy, I would not take away one thing that has led me here.

  6. Leocadia

    Thanks. I have had my eye on that strange looking solitary soldier dressed rather oddly and standing in a forest with something weird on his head. I would like to use him in a piece I’m writing for my blog. I feel almost the same as you about changing things. Almost but not quite. Peace to you and your loved ones.

  7. Mr. Snook, did you ever meet Prahlad Chandra Brahmachari?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s