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Janis M. Serak, Grad ’02

Charlotte Price and Jan Serak share both a friendship and a passion for helping others that has resulted in their co-founding and co-directing the Wisconsin Family Assistance Center for Education, Training & Support Inc.

WI FACETS grew out of their collective experience trying to negotiate the educational system to accommodate Charlotte's son's orthopedic needs and the needs of Jan’s autistic son. As they discovered the resources that would help their own children, the two united to provide this information to other parents through statewide workshops, parent counseling, resource referral, and support related to early conflict resolution.

In addition to their work through WI FACETS, both Charlotte and Jan provide board training and strategic planning for non-profit organizations, mediation services for organizations around Wisconsin and hours of support for numerous other organizations as well.

Charlotte has devoted countless hours to WI FACETS’ mission, beginning with when she was learning about the services her two and a half-year-old son needed to overcome his physical disabilities. The more Charlotte learned, the more she shared. “Part of the advocacy program then was for participants to, in turn, help another family,” she says. “That’s when I became hooked.” As for the future, “I think I will always provide volunteer support for parents who have children with disabilities,” she says. “I am also developing a private mediation practice which should sustain me during my golden years.” In the meantime, she’s getting plenty of experience through her work with Marquette’s Center for Dispute Resolution and the many organizations with which she is involved.

Jan serves in various state and national leadership positions and as an active committee member with numerous organizations related to her work in advocacy and mediation, including the Autism Society at regional, state and national levels. Her enthusiasm has only grown as she has seen her work make a real difference in the lives of children with disabilities and their families. To work and life, she applies her special formula for success: Passion + Knowledge + Network + Family + Faith. “Family is foundation,” she says. “My husband and our two sons, Jeff and Ben, are my joy and keep me grounded and aware of the need for time away from work. My faith in God makes it all possible and meaningful.”

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