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Our annual Circles Luncheon was held on November 4, 2019. We hope you got to enjoy our featured speaker, attorney and child advocate Liz Huntley. Be sure to browse our photos from the event.
“I want my story to let children in similar situations to mine to know that they can reach their dreams, and to encourage more adults to become advocates for them like so many did for me.”
Have you ever had an experience that touched you so deeply that it took away your breath?
In 1990 I moved to Huntsville to marry and have a wonderful life. Little did I know that I was headed straight into a living nightmare of abuse. I had two daughters, Anna and Abby. Over the years I became clinically depressed and was hospitalized. I had to learn how to function in life again. I was literally struggling for my life.
At this time, one of my daughters was in the 3rd grade at St John’s Catholic School. My heart had always been drawn to learn more about the Catholic faith. I started reading my daughter’s first grade religious education books. The more I learned, the more I wanted to know. I made a decision that changed my life forever. I joined the adult religious education classes. My daughter and I were baptized and took Holy Communion together on Easter Eve. God was so present! For me this is where religion and spirituality came together. Finally, I had found peace in the midst of the storm of abuse and depression.
My marriage ended after 16 years. I had the support of family, friends, and my church. After a year I found a job, and life was good.
However, somewhere along the way, I quit practicing my faith. Little by little I was a broken spirit again; I was going in and out of severe depression. I had let go of God’s hand. I was operating on self-will, and I lived in hell for many years.
I had heard about a school that offered help and required no money from me, and I later learned it was the Christian Women’s Job Corps program. A friend told me to inquire. I didn’t, but one day “mysteriously”, I found a brochure on my kitchen table.
Guess what!? It was about the Christian Women’s Job Corps. I made the call that was on the brochure and spoke to Charmika Merriweather. After our talk, I came right away to fill out an application. The day I applied was all in God’s timing, because the next day was the last day to submit an application. God had a plan for me! All I knew about the Christian Women’s Job Corps was that they offered computer training classes.
I have learned those computer skills. I have learned to have self-respect, self-esteem, and I have developed genuine relationships. I have learned to love and to be loved again.
CWJC changed my life in many ways, and the great change is the GIFT OF HOPE that I now have. Now I know there are plans for me; I am safe, and I have refuge. I feel hope and a great future awaits me!!
The experience that took my breath away – Christian Women’s Job Corps did that for me. I know that God has a plan for me – plans for peace and well-being.
- Susan Voce
I am grateful for the time spent with CWJC, because I have met a lot of people who have not once given up on me, when I had given up on myself so many times before. Since spring of 2016 I was always encouraged to continue striving to be the best that I can be and to never give up on working toward my GED.
Summer of 2017 I accepted Jesus and got baptized. One thing for sure I can say, CWJC has really been a backbone that I could always depend on for so many things that I know for a fact I wouldn’t been able to do so on my own two feet.
As of April of this year, I have received my GED with the help of the tutoring classes CWJC offer. CWJC has really been a life changer for me and my 3 daughters for the past 2 years. It’s the most amazing program that I have been offered in my whole life. I cannot thank them enough for the time and effort they continue to put into encouraging others to join this special program for women.
I will say and will continue to say give CWJC a chance, as they will also give you a chance. They’re always one phone call away. After getting my GED, I moved to Carrollton, AL where I am currently enrolled in Bevill State Community College. My major is Child Development. If all goes well, I will soon become a Pre-K teacher. I never would have made it without the help of CWJC. I most definitely thank you all for the opportunity to share my testimony.
- Jasmine Clay
I chose to become a CWJC student when my sister-in-law Amy Cleary (who taught a computer class at one of the sites) thought it would be a good idea for me to get some up to date training to hone some skills while I was searching for a better job. I decided that CWJC was my best chance to build some skills that I could put on my resume in the shortest amount of time and help me get into a position that could build toward a career.
Prior to the program, I had been a stay-at-home mother for quite a while, working jobs here and there. Although I had a college degree, I had never been able to really capitalize on the benefits of it here in Huntsville. I had been raising my two daughters from the time they were seven as a single parent, working mostly in retail and customer service type jobs, always trying to better my circumstances with each new opportunity that presented itself. But jobs always seemed just about the same anywhere I went.
CWJC not only gave me some up to date computer skills that I could use on a daily basis, but also gave me sense of accomplishment, an empowerment over my future, a great new, long-term friend through the mentorship program, and best of all, a career in the making. I have spent time developing the skills I learned with the program, including data management and presentation skills. CWJC contacted me about a job opening that seemed a good fit for me. I applied and was offered the job!
Currently, I am employed by Cepeda Systems and Software Analysis, Inc., where I am the full-time administrative assistant. I also work on graphics layout and coordinate events for them, which relates directly to my degree in Communication Design. As of May 1, 2018, I have been named the facilities manager of the corporate office. My future plans are to take some graphic courses, to further my knowledge and training, and to eventually have our web design move in-house and work for that team.
Christian Women’s Job Corps gave me the confidence, contacts, and skills that helped me make life better for my daughters and myself.
- Maureen Matthews
My journey to CWJC is different from most of my class. I was in the Air Force almost 14 years and worked for Verizon Wireless almost 10 years. I had a car accident and life changed. Due to neck and back injuries, I was in and out of physical/chiropractic therapy. Feb 2016, I did not re-enlist in the Air Force, because I couldn’t medically pass PT.
My doctor took me out of work at Verizon due to my physical limitations, and I had to file for short term disability. Unfortunately, my medical claim was declined, and I was terminated from Verizon Sept 2016.
I applied for other positions but wasn’t able to find employment. The first 6 months I was still financially secure, so I wasn’t worried. By Aug 2017 I was down to my last $280 and was very weary. At that point, I knew this was a God thing when I couldn’t even get a part time job. I prayed and asked God to help me.
I went to an interview where I met Carla Johnson, another CWJC student. She stated, “I just applied for CWJC, and I think you would be a great candidate.” My friend Tamayra and I both went to First Baptist and got an application. We submitted them and were both accepted to the Heritage Campus.
When I met with Susan Elder the Site Coordinator there for the interview process, I wasn’t sure what the outcome would be. However, the more we talked, a peace overcame me, and I realized this was a God thing. CWJC was the answer to my prayers! I told Susan September was my faith month. I literally had no idea how I would pay for gas to get to class each week or pay any monthly bills. But every week a way was made. I found that I could, through God’s grace, pay for gas, food, and other bills.
Each week I came to class and was a sponge just soaking up all I could. I was amazed because I thought I was proficient in certain areas but found myself learning more and more each week. Every teacher had a passion to assist us on our journey and taught more than skills for computer, finances, career planning, and resume building. Susan, the teachers, and other volunteers gave me strength, encouraged me, and prayed with me. During this time Susan and Elaine Dickson made calls and provided information to assist me in making sure bills were paid and essential needs were met. I can never thank CWJC enough for everything that they did to assist me on my Faith walk.
I used the tools to create a resume and was called for an interview. On the last day of class, I nailed the interview. Two days later, I was offered the career God had prepared for me as a (Government Contractor) Logistics System Program Support Analyst. I’m forever Grateful! CWJC provided me with so many tools and resources that will not just carry me through this season, but the rest of my life. I look forward to coming back and ministering to other students and serving in any capacity. We gained a wealth of knowledge and I can’t wait to share it with others. I love you all so much.
Inspiring and empowering women through self-sufficiency.
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