Larina was born Larina Baumgartner on September 8, 1976 in Tacoma, Washington. Growing up, Larina moved all over the country, attending more than 15 schools in states ranging from Washington to Maryland. Despite being an honor's student in high school, Larina was a teen parent and a high school drop out. After living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation with her first husband, she returned briefly to the Tacoma-Seattle area before moving back to southwestern Idaho where she earned her high school diploma a year late.
In 1997, Larina began her college journey at the University of Idaho where she studied English and classical studies. She often jokes that she left her first college with the wrong credentials as she started at the U of I with two children and left with four. During her second year of college, the traumatic birth of her youngest son (leading to cerebral palsy for him) and the subsequent diagnosis of her older son with autism forced Larina to make the difficult decision of moving closer to family supports and taking some time off from school.
She returned to college and graduated as a member of PINNACLE with a B.S. in Liberal Studies and a minor in political science from Eastern Oregon University. Her interdisciplinary program included a focus on literature, writing, and politics.
In 2012, Larina earned her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from Saint Xavier University, graduating with a 4.0 GPA.
Larina is a chronic learner. In 2009-2010, she was a participant in Leadership Corvallis, a local leadership program. In 2003, She completed the 11-month Idaho Partners in Policymaking Leadership Institute for individuals with developmental disabilities and parents of individuals with development disabilities. In addition, she has received training in cultural competency, juvenile crime prevention, gender issues, sexual harassment issues, grant writing, conflict resolution, mediation, communications, marketing, fundraising, credit counseling, and financial literacy instruction. She has been trained as a Living Well leader--a research-based chronic disease management program from Stanford University.
Beginning at the Malheur Commission on Children and Families, Larina has been in some form of public service since she entered the professional workforce. For three years, she taught students with behavioral and emotional disabilities in a private facility in Idaho. From 2006 to 2010, she worked for Corvallis Public Schools Foundation raising private funds for public education. She worked at Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services from 2010 to 2012 where she facilitated programming for WNHS residents and taught Financial Future classes to community members.
Family is the biggest part of Larina's life. She lives with her husband of 12 years, three children, and two dogs. Her youngest son, Zachary, passed away in June of 2011. She is active in her community and continues to be enamored with politics and activism.
Larina's chapbook, Guitar Without Strings was published by The Lives You Touch Publications in early 2011. The chapbook tells the story of her relationship with her father prior to and after his passing.
Larina's other writing and volunteer activities are detailed in other areas of this site.