Karina Levesque, majoring in Human Services Management, is a DiversityJobs Scholarship Finalist

I chose my major due to my own lived experience. I was addicted to drugs and alcohol for ten years of my life. I had a career as a fine dining chef. I created meals for customers that were amazingly simple and yet extraordinarily delicious. While creating these meals, I would match wines with each dish. Not only would I match them, I would also drink them. So much so that I created an alcohol and drug dependent monster out of myself. 

During that time I lost my family, friends, home, car, jobs, and myself. I came to the realization that I needed help and was willing to do anything I had to in order to get back to my life. I humbled myself and went to a detoxification center and cleansed my body from the poisons. I knew, in my heart of hearts, that if I went back to where I was from, I would use again. I asked for further treatment.

I ended up in a halfway house with a case manager that had more faith in me than I ever had for myself. He made me realize that I am worth something, a force to be reckoned with. After 4 months of treatment and then a year of sobriety I decided a career change was in order. I wanted to be a case manager for people with substance abuse addiction.

Currently I work in the mental health field; however, once I get my degree I know I will be able to do more than I ever dreamed. Getting my degree means I can help others that have gone through what I went through. It means that, possibly, I can prevent people from going through what I went through. It means I will be able to tell my kids that I set a dream and I achieved it. And that they can, too.

If I could go back in time, knowing what I know now, I would not change a thing. The experiences I went through created who I am today. I am a gay woman who has battled addiction and won. The gifts I have received from this battle are my wife, step-children, family, and myself. I would not have it any other way.’s scholarship program is proud to announce Karina Levesque as one of the finalists for its December 2012 application deadline. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘star’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.

  • carol halfmann

    Karina – through your essay, you’ve already touched the lives of so many – and you will continue to do so in your career. I’m so proud of you for turning your life around, so happy for you and your family. Keep up the great work!

  • Tina M. Healey

    Well deserving to receive this scholarship. She will help many people!

  • peter

    Good luck Karina. You totally should get this!

  • G

    Best of Luck on this new journey

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, G…I love you…<3

  • Your strength and determination are amazing.

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Jodie! 🙂

  • I’m so happy for you Karina, you’ve proven to yourself and now to others that people can change paths and rise to the challenges life lends. I have known you for many years and have so much faith in your ability to help others and in doing so continue your own personal growth. I look forward to hearing of your accomplishments and wish you luck with your education. Hugs!


    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Stacy…<3

  • Penny Ann Knochel

    Good luck in you endeavor! I wish you and your family nothing but happiness!!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Penny! <3

  • Well well I thinks it’s about time for me to finally comment… I have known you – as most of us – all your life. I have seen you at your cutest/finest/and even seen some of your toughest and worst. I am proud of you Karina. You have traveled a hard road, made a few detours, but got back on the right highway.. Your family has a right to be proud! Great job!!!! 🙂

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Dawn…Your kind words mean a lot to me. <3

  • I wish you luck

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you very much!

  • From what I understand all comments will be read in consideration to the awarding of this scholarship, so I am going to now leave mine. I’ll be honest, I really don’t know Karina herself very well, but I do know what a blessing she has been to her family. She has given one of my best friends the happiness she has so longed for and deserved, and has become an amazing Mom to not only Erin’s children, but our niece as well. She has given herself to FIVE amazing kids that she had no obligation to and has made this family a whole. Her desire to better herself by continuing her education is not only a beneficial goal for her, or to better the quality of life for her family, but is to help others, their family and their children. This girl obviously has a lot to offer!!!!! Best of luck Karina!!!!!

    • Karina Levesque

      Carri, I thank you so much for your support. It truly means the world to me. <3

  • You are so amazing and I’m so proud of you…the amount of people who are showing their love and support during this contest, is truly breathtaking. Keep up the good work baby, I love you!!

    • Karina Levesque

      I love you for all of the support and love you are giving me. 🙂

  • Bean ~

    You are living the words of Mahatma Gandhi ~ “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
    I am so very, very proud of you.

    • Karina Levesque

      I love you, Mom <3

  • Kelly Wagner

    Continued good luck vibes comin’ your way for this scholarship, Karina! All the best!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Kelly! Your support means the world to me!

  • good job!!!! keep up the good work. the world needs more people like this!!!!!!!!!!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, David! 🙂

  • Meaghan kearney

    You’re a great power of example for myself,&many more.

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you very much! 🙂

  • You’re amazing!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, doll! So are you!!

  • Oaktown

    Best of luck, Karina!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, sweets! <3

  • Charlie Melkonian

    I’m proud to have you in my family Bean, my niece/little sister! You are beloved by me and a fine example of the great teachers we had the honor and blessing to be taught by in our family.

    • Karina Levesque

      I love you, Uncle Charlie! Thank you for your support!

  • Ali Tierney Wood

    Being a woman in recovery myself I know the hard work it takes. You have gone above and beyond to give back to your friend and those you have worked with. In the short time I worked with you,I saw the inspiration you gave to the clients and your coworkers. You will go far in whatever you do and you will do it being yourself! xo

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Ali! <3

  • Michele Nezamian

    Karina, I met you a long time ago when you were just a little baby. I never really met you mother but I do know your aunt and unlces and your cousin Sandra is my cousin (related on Mom’s side). Your grandfather was my Uncle “Argo’s” brother so I know the stock that you come from. Everyone will have obstacles put in their path but you find a way to get around them – that’s just part of your DNA. I wish you nothing but success and I know that you will succeed and do more wonderful things. Be proud of the path you’re on, stay true to yourself and remember to learn from your mistakes. Best of luck in all of your endeavors!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you so much, Michele! Your words are too sweet.

  • Steven Christopher Clark

    Karina, simply put has never asked for anything. This has been painstakingly worked for and is absolutely well deserved. Karina’s greatest attribute? That this is not even about Karina. It’s about the countless people who will be affected in so many positive ways. Karina’s optimism is contagious! A young woman to keep your eye on for sure!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you for your kind words, Steven

  • Wishing you the best of luck Karina, you deserve it! Remember that Alec is watching over you. He was always so proud of everyone in his family and spoke of you with so much love! I was lucky enough to know exactly who he was speaking about! Wishing you and your family well and Good Luck! 🙂

    • Karina Levesque

      He certainly is looking down and smiling…thank you for your sweet words. 🙂

  • Never heard this side of you seeing that I really only knew you in high school. It’s inspirational to see that you want to pay it forward. You have the ability to make a difference. Best of luck. I always remember you as a strong woman with a great attitude. I look forward to hearing about how many lives you turn around.

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Shawn!!!

  • Karina, I haven’t known you very long but you seem so down to earth and focused. You will succeed in anything that you attempt. So I hope that you get this scholarship because if there is anyone that can help others succeed, it would be you. Congratulations on being announced a finalist and may you go on to achieve even greater things.

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Wanda!!!

  • Erin Michaud

    Some people just pour positive energy into the world. Karina is one of those bright lights. Keep on shining!!!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Erin! 🙂

  • chris leavitt

    what a beautiful story, so inspirational, good luck, you deserve this

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Chris! 🙂 xoxo

  • Momo

    I am so proud of you Karina!! I am also proud to call you my best friend. I love you!

    • Karina Levesque

      I love you so much!

  • You get my vote Kiddo!!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Mr. Clark!

  • Michelle Johnson

    Good luck with this you definitely deserve it.

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Michelle!

  • Oi Chika! Your strength is an inspiration for so many. I hope you get this scholarship for it will certainly enable you to help so many more. Bravo on your accomplishments thus far, can’t wait to see the rest.

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Tuck! 🙂 <3

  • Taline

    Wonderful essay Karina, it takes a lot for someone to come out and be open about their past and the changes they are willing to make to better themselves. Great job! We love you!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Taline! <3

  • Shikoba

    This is beautiful; that’s right you are a powerful and beautiful being, embrace it and enjoy being all that you are. Wishing you the best.

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you! <3

  • Heather

    Phenomenal!! It takes HUGE personal inner strength to over come things like this and you have done so with beauty and grace. What an inspiration.

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you so much, Heather!

  • I just want to reiterate how amazing I think my wife is…and all of the support and encouragement she’s receiving here, is just added proof to that notion. Thank you all so much for helping to try and make her (our) dreams, a reality!

    • Karina Levesque

      You are an amazing support to me. I am so grateful that you married me.

  • I will be voting for you daily!!!! This would be a great step and amazing opportunity for you to continue the positive path you and your family have been and are on!!!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Carri!

  • Jamie Fake

    This is just a glimpse into the struggles you have overcome and the person that you have become. There are not enough words to talk about the things that you have been through in your life and certainly not enough time in a short essay like this to put into words the success that you have accomplished in making better choices for yourself. You have become an excellent student and someone that people can look up to and be proud of. I know that you did quite well in my class and really put yourself out there for some of the discussions and papers. You aren’t afraid of your past, but you have learned to embrace it as something that you can learn from and have moved forward. The future for you will be bright and like everything you have experienced so far, you will learn from your mistakes and move on from them. Congratulations in all that you have done and I look forward to seeing all that you will do.

    • Karina Levesque

      Thanks, Teach! 🙂

  • Julie Reno

    Thanks for sharing your story, Karina. I hope many, many people get to hear it and read it, you are amazing!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Julie!

  • grace

    Wishing you all the best, Karina!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Grace!

  • Karina Levesque

    Humbled. I am absolutely humbled by the out-pour of support. Thank you everyone. <3

  • Sheighla

    A friend from a long time ago. She is amazing. Always has been. Please vote!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you so much, Sheighla!

  • Elisha Boatman

    Karina ~ u r an amazing woman! Erin is right, scholarship or not u have already won. U have fought hard battles in you’re life, praise be to God u made it through and bless you for wanting to pay it forward. Thank u for making a difference in other peoples lives. U made a difference in my life ~u saved me once from a really bad choice and I will never forget it. Thank u for who u r and I really hope you win. U deserve it!!!

    • Karina Levesque

      I love you, Lish! Thank you!

  • Good luck to you in receiving this scholarship! You deserve it, I am very happy you found who you are through all of this, and hope you continue to grow each and everyday! You are a wonderful person with an incredible family! And I wish nothing but the best for you and yours!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Michelle!

  • Jodi


    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Jodi!

  • Lisa

    I wish you luck.

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Lisa! 🙂

  • Your story is inspirational Karina thanks for telling it!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Eric!

  • Karina I’m so proud of you. You accomplished what I watched my day struggle with my life whole but just couldn’t do it. Everybody deserves a second chance at life and you did it now you can inspire others to get there second chance. Your a great and inspirational person and I admire you. Love you

    • Karina Levesque

      Love you, Jennifer!!! Thank you!

  • La Kita M. Flintroy

    Karina, you are directing your life into a positive direction. I was shocked when you first told me of your former life because you are not that person today. I am honored to work with you. Continue to do you.

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Kita! <3

  • Kathy Garron

    I am amazed at Karina’s story and how she picked herself up and continues to carry on. Karina will be awesome working with people who struggle with addictions. She’s straight forward yet kind at the same time and fights for people’s needs and rights without hesitation. She’s a great role-model and has a lot of compassion for the job she does now. Karina’s comment about going back in time and she wouldn’t change a thing is priceless. She has learned so much about life and people in general. She will carry this knowledge and pass it on to others. Karina is very committed to whatever she does. (and by the way Karina, it’s great to know you!!!)

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Kathy!

  • Anahid Bogosian

    Good job Karina, we are all so proud of you! Keep up the good work!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Anahid!

  • Amy Malooly

    Good for you Karina! I too have been there and done that and I wouldn’t change the way my life is now, for anything! Good job!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Amy!

  • Rene

    I think i have met you Karina, i work with your mom, actually she is my boss, but i want to congratulate you on your triumph over your deamons, wish you the best, and may God bles you always

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Rene!

  • Tammy Nadeau Gehring

    Great job with your essay Karina, You should be very proud of yourself for the way you have overcome your addiction and in return want to help others as you have been helped. Always keep up that positive and can do attitude and I am sure you will do great things with your life.

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Tammy!

  • Maral Habeshian

    Best of luck in getting the scholarship and in pursuing this career. As they say, you never know until you’ve been there; with your determination, strength and empathy, you’ll surely be able to help thousands!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you so much!

  • Eneroliza Santana

    Karina it has been a pleasure working with you. I look forward to working with you for as long as you can stand me :-). You are so passionate about what you do and I admire that very much.

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Liza!

  • katelyn melkonian russell

    Good luck!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, doll!

  • Sara Maggio Tercero

    Karina you deserve the best. Great job asking for help when you needed it and recognizing that a change was in order. I hope you get the scholarship sister. I love you.

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Mag! 🙂

  • Best of luck!!! 🙂

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Jenn!

  • Anna

    Congratulations, Karina! Your successes and accomplishments are already immense! I am proud of your perseverance. You are an inspiration to all. Wishing you all the best to realize your dreams of of making a positive difference in your challenging career and in life!! Infinite kudos, Karina!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Anna!

  • Heather

    I’ve known you for many years and have watched you grow, hurt, love , and learn. You have overcome so much to become the amazing person you are. You have selflessly chosen to help others for your life’s work. I wish you many happy returns and commend you for examining and making the positive changes to live the hell out of your life. You deserve this scholarship!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Heather! <3

  • Jessica Galeckas

    Karina – You are an inspiration. I love you. I’m so proud of the choices that you have made these past few years. The best is yet to come!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Jessica!

  • Kelly

    Karina, you are an inspiration, my friend! All the very best to you. xo

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Kelly!

  • SarahC

    Karina, you have come so far! We are all on your side and hoping all of your dreams come true! xoxo

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Sarah! <3

  • Ash

    Karina what an awesome essay and a great way to start my day (even though now I’m a bit teary eyed) good luck !!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Ash!

  • Everyday I fall more in love with you, feel more and more blessed to have met you. I am so proud to be your wife, so proud of all that you have done and all that I know you will continue to do. You are one of the strongest women I know and it is such an honor to walk through life with you by my side. So many people look up to you for guidance and direction and you live by such example. I am proud that my children have your footsteps follow and your amazing heart to be loved by. Thank you for being exactly who you are and for sharing it all with us. Scholarship or not, you’ve already won.

    • Karina Levesque

      Your words are so sweet…one of the reasons why I married you.

  • april

    I know we’ve never met….and may never get a chance to meet….but I know you’re going far. You’ve all ready come so far. I wish you had given yourself credit in your piece. It was because of YOUR perseverance that got you past the bullshit. YOU wanted better, and YOU got better. You are strong and relentless…….don’t ever stop moving forward. You are amazing.

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, April!

  • Sharistan

    Karina – You are paying it forward in a most selfless way, and for that, you are helping so many. Forge on.

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Auntie. <3

  • You are an amazing soul. A person needs only hear your wonderful laugh to know that about you. You are just beautiful all around and you deserve this and so much more. I’m glad I can say “I knew you when” 😉 Congratulations lady!!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Heather! 🙂 <3

  • Karina I am so proud of you! I had no idea you went through all that and I respect you so much for pushing through. You are so right never regret your paast it made you who you are today and brought some pretty special people into your life
    Keep going forward you are going to do great things 🙂

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you!

  • Franchesca

    Karina- you truly are a wonderful person, with a great attitude, and that will help you get to the places you need to go. Congrats on all of your accomplishments thus far…many more to come I am sure.

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Franny!

  • The day that you went into treatment was a new beginning for you. You found humility, and with that you found yourself. It was no surprise to me that you would take what you experienced and want to share that with others.

    I am so proud of the woman you have become.

    • Karina Levesque

      Mom, I could not have done it without your love and support. You mean the world to me.

      • Love you to the moon and back plus 1 <3

        • Karina Levesque

          Deep as the sea, Mom <3

    • Nairi Melkonian

      Beanie baby, I have always known you to be such a vibrant spirit with a beautiful heart. You needed to experience the darkness, so you can know the light by comparison. You’re perseverance gave you the fortitude to withstand the strongest tests of time and I am sure you will overcome any obstacle in your path with the same triumphs. I know those who you guide will be fortunate to have such an admirable person to learn from and look up to. I am proud of you and blessed to have you for a sister from another mister 😉 I love you!

      • Karina Levesque

        Nairi, I love you so much for your sweet words and loving spirit. I can feel your hugs from here! <3

  • Amazing story, Karina…you’re definitely going places!! Best of luck to you

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Cristin!

  • Lisa Kurt

    Helping others with struggles that you have gone through yourself is one of the most admirable acts a person can do. Lifting yourself up and then lifting others up- I imagine that you will go so far and help so many. Best wishes- I hope you realize your wonderful dream!

    • Karina Levesque

      Thank you, Lisa!

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