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Kimberly Villegas smiling, holding a certificate in substance use disorder counseliing.

KHON recently profiled Kimberly Villegas a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor at Aloha House. Read the full story here.

From Addiction to Counselor

Kimberly Villegas, now a University of Hawaii Maui College student, overcame a life of addiction, abuse, and incarceration to become a certified substance abuse counselor. Villegas started drinking alcohol and using drugs at age 11, had her first child at 14, but turned her life around after being introduced to her infant grandson. She has been sober for 7 years.

Persevering Through Her Studies

Villegas enrolled at UH Maui College in 2019 and was part of the first cohort in the school’s substance abuse counseling program. Despite nearly giving up several times, her instructor praises her perseverance. She is set to graduate with her associate’s degree in May and currently works as a substance abuse counselor at Maui Behavioral Health Resources’ Aloha House. 

Villegas hopes to continue her education towards a bachelor’s degree with the goal of eventually counseling in the prison system. As a first-generation college graduate, her story shows it’s possible to overcome addiction and make a difference by breaking the cycle of substance abuse.