Janine Williams, A Rare Gem


Janine Williams is a rare gem. Like many of us, her journey has had many twists and bumps in the road, but her defining feature is her shining personality and positive nature.  As a student in Moraine Park’s substance abuse counseling program, her a goal is to share her story to help others, and she told me with confidence that God brought her to Moraine Park.

Janine is a recovering addict from the Chicago area. At the time, she had young children and knew she needed to seek help.  She found a recovery program in Ohio that welcomed her entire family.

“That is when my life really began,” Janine said. “I was so thankful that I could have my children with me. I knew I needed to work on creating a new life, and I also knew I was going to come out of recovery completely different. That is why it was so important that they could be with me, so we could learn and grow together. If my children had not been a part of my treatment and counseling, it might have been very confusing for them when we reunited. Recovery should be a family journey, in a way we were all recovering. This treatment facility allowed my family to see my progress, and for that, I am forever grateful.”

Her positive experience with the 18-month recovery program is what made her passionate about pursuing a career as a substance abuse counselor.

“I recall being amazed that my counselor, who didn’t know me at all, loved me more than I loved myself at the time,” she said. “I thank God for my time at the recovery center, and I continue to channel their love and energy to this day.”

Janine is 30-years sober.

After she left the recovery center, she found a home in Madison where she could raise her family and enjoy her life. Of course, this wasn’t without continued struggles and challenges. In the past few years, she has survived breast cancer, worked hard to get her HSED, and buried one of her step-sons.

Even in the face of all of this, Janine has held her head high and kept her focus all of the positivity around her.

“It’s easy to ask why me, but really why not me,” Janine said. “I decided that I can’t let this sadness and fear consume me. It’s important that I find happiness so that I can continue to grow.”

Janine relocated to Fond du Lac two years ago and enrolled at Moraine Park. She is a part of the Edge program, a Student Support Services program that provides academic advising, study groups, cultural services, and many other resources for qualifying students. The EDGE program is one of almost 1,200 college programs nationwide; this is their 50th anniversary.

Janine is also active in the student senate, diversity club, and the substance abuse counseling committee.


“Growing is beautiful,” Janine said. “I’ve learned to appreciate everything that we are surrounded with, every season of life because there are blessings around every corner. Moraine Park has helped to give me a new sense of purpose, and I am very thankful for that.”

Janine is scheduled to graduate from the substance abuse counseling program in May of 2020.

For more information on Moraine Park, visit morainepark.edu.

Written by Kristina Haensgen
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