Human Service Associate Degree Helps Charles Linyard Inspire and Serve Others


December 01, 2015


Charles Linyard

Charles Linyard's life story is one of overcoming obstacles. One of his greatest accomplishments was regaining his sobriety four years ago. That success started him on a path that will lead him to graduate from MATC Dec. 11 with an associate degree from MATC's human service associate program.

Linyard started using drugs when he was 16. He has struggled with cocaine and alcohol addictions most of his adult life. "I was a child trapped in a grown-up body," he said. "People who aren't taught how to deal with their emotions always think that drugs will make it better. Alcoholics and addicts deal with self-doubt, low self-esteem, trust issues and fear of abandonment. That can lead to what I call 'stinking thinking.' You tell yourself you are not any good."

With the help of Cocaine Anonymous and All Addictions Anonymous, and admitting that he is "powerless over drugs, alcohol and life," he has reached sobriety and is now helping others to achieve the same goal. "One of the crowning points in my life was that my father got a chance to see me clean and sober before he passed," Linyard said.


Linyard is studying human service because he is called to help others overcome their addictions and live fulfilled lives.

Taking a step to improve his life, Linyard began working toward a GED at the YWCA. He later finished it at the Milwaukee Urban League. After achieving that goal, he decided he wanted to attend MATC to earn an AODA (Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse) Substance Abuse Counselor Certificate so he could help others overcome their addictions.

Convinced to Pursue Associate Degree

But Ron Fancher, a specialist in MATC's School of Pre-College Education, convinced Linyard to enroll in an associate degree program instead so he would have broader career options in the future. Linyard enrolled in the human service associate program in August 2012. He said that people are now urging him to work toward bachelor's and master's degrees in the field. For now, though, he said he would like to work for a while to earn money to pay back student loans. He also will take two additional courses at MATC in the Spring 2016 semester which will allow him to become AODA certified.

I adore MATC. I owe the college so much. It's helped me become a fulfilled man.

Charles Linyard MATC Student

At first, going to college was intimidating for Linyard. "I was terrified to come to MATC in the beginning," he said. "The reading, writing and academic part frightened me. I nearly failed at MATC, but getting help from instructors and the Library and Tutoring Center staffs saved me. I adore MATC. I owe the college so much. It's helped me become a fulfilled man."


Another high point of his experience at MATC was making friends with other students, often precipitated by sharing his struggles through writing projects and class presentations. He said that when he opened up about his life struggles, others opened up to him as well.

Enjoys Serving as Sponsor

Linyard works at staying sober by journaling, attending Cocaine Anonymous meetings and serving as a sponsor to others. "As a sponsor, I get the chance to sit across the room and see the light in the eyes of others when they are inspired and feel understood. That's what MATC teachers must feel all the time."

In addition, he leads monthly informal gatherings for addicts at a local restaurant. "When you break bread with someone, that's something intimate," he said. "It's something you can pull strength from when you are going through addiction."

The father of seven grown children, Linyard also is a family man. Two of his children have attended classes at MATC. Linyard married long-time girlfriend Monica in October.


Charles and Monica Linyard got married this October.

His long-term goal is to open what he calls a "Wholeness Center," which he envisions as a recovery house or apartment building where families can stay drug- and alcohol-free while they get stronger.

"My calling is to let others know that they can be free of addiction," Linyard said. "I tell people to remember, 'I matter today.' Because when you matter, you don't just settle. Always do the best you can today."

For more information on the human service associate program, visit: