Janine Betts comes from a family of educated women, but she says choices that she made earlier in her life prevented her from earning a degree. When she decided that she was ready to go to college, an opportunity with Antioch University’s Bridge Program came up that helped her make her dream come true, and even beyond.
“I am grateful,” said Betts, who earned her BA in Liberal Studies in 2017 and then her MA in Clinical Psychology in 2019, both from Antioch. She was chosen to serve as the MA in Clinical Psychology student speaker at the 2019 Commencement ceremony. “I am really, really grateful for the people who believed in me.”
In 2012, at age 50, Betts began her journey with Antioch, starting with the Bridge program, which provides University level education for students who may not otherwise have access to higher education.
“It’s been a nice ride. The Bridge program was instrumental because I was a recovering addict and out of prison and I wasn’t sure if I could even earn a degree,” said Betts who earned her master’s at age 56. “It was an amazing process that helped me to overcome some of the struggles in my life and catapult me to what comes next.”
The Bridge Program is an example of Antioch’s commitment to economic justice, providing students with courses equivalent to 15 college credits, for free. Since its founding in 1999, nearly 700 students have completed the program which runs from October to June. A high school diploma is not required to participate, and graduates can apply the credits to earning an undergraduate degree at Antioch University.
Betts said that the Bridge Program changed her life and that she is amazed at how it showed up when she needed it.
“I don’t take for granted anything that I have right now,” said Betts. “When I surrendered my will then things in my life began to change dramatically and quickly.”
Betts is planning to serve on the Bridge Program Board to give back to the program. Her future career plans will also help her contribute to her community, as she focused her master’s studies at Antioch in Community Psychology and will earn certificates in hospice and domestic violence work to augment her psychology training.
Betts plans to work as a psychologist with women to help them overcome their struggles as she did. Her vision is to found what she calls a “habilitation” center. Habilitation, because she says she wants to help women who have never found their way, get on the right path.
“I want to work with women who want a hand and not a hand out,” said Betts. “I needed that hand at Bridge. They held my hand through my process and I kept moving.”