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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
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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
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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
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Summer 1997 – four women left separately on a journey to the unknown that we thought would end in Birmingham. We had much to learn – that journey continues to this day.
The 4 of us had learned, in different ways, about a 3-day training/learning event that was the culmination of what had taken place the previous 18 months in 5 distinctly different locations in the US.
The idea of Christian Women’s Job Corps had found its birth in the hearts of women of the Woman’s Missionary Union – headquartered in B’ham. These women had observed how women were helping other women in the Appalachian region of the US – basically one woman at a time mentoring another. They observed that real difference could happen when one woman truly invested herself in helping another woman obtain a better life situation. From those observations God led these women to “try out” that idea – which they did in these 5 locations.
The 4 of us who took that first step were inspired that the same idea would work and was needed in Huntsville. We knew it was needed!! We came back with the dream of beginning our first classes almost immediately. That didn’t happen.
The more we progressed, the slower we felt we were going. However, God’s plan was at work and visible by the varied people He continued to bring to the planning table. We immediately knew that we wanted CWJC of Madison Co to be a church and community model – never belonging to a single church or denomination, but rather should be inclusive of all Christian church bodies. God also began to bring to the table people of the community – people from education, government, businesses – all of whom wanted a personal way to invest in our county. We could see a school in the making.
We finally felt confident enough to offer our first classes the fall of 1998. We had found a place to meet; we had located a workable curriculum that was flexible and user friendly; we had volunteers - to teach, serve a day each week as the site coordinator (a term that came along much later), bring lunch, furnish supplies, and most important – a mentor for each of our students. This short paragraph in no way tells of the work behind bringing all those pieces together to offer this class. Finding our first students who were willing to take a risk with an unknown educational plan was bigger than we’d imagined. We had expectations of our students as they had of us.
But God provided at every turn – for each of the above boxes to be checked. The overwhelming beauty was that we knew then that we would offer these classes at no financial cost to our students. That will always be the way CWJC operates. CWJC truly began and is today – a model of churches and community working as one.
God led people to provide the money we needed to have the materials our ladies would need. Even our first computers were free – from the NASA facilities computer “graveyard”. I could write a book with all the ways God provided all we needed. But He did – over and over til this day.
Now Christian Women’s Job Corps of Madison County has 4 sites – each distinctively different to meet the needs of women who need CWJC. We have 5 staff members – 1 full time and 5 part time – all who are true ministers at heart – under paid, overworked and over qualified. But, God brought their hearts of ministry to CWJC.
Early on we tried to decide how to measure “success”, realizing that’s hard to do in a ministry since we don’t know the hearts of all. But one measure we felt we could bank on was when one of our graduates returned as a mentor. That happened! And – it now happens on a regular basis. In fact, we’ve had graduates return as teachers.
This ministry works! These stories will give you a glimpse of that fact. The stories are different. One woman’s “success” is different from another’s; her situation is different. As you read the stories, however, you’ll see that our students begin to look at their “differences” in a new light as they share their uncommon and common life situations. It’s a beautiful thing to see. CWJC continues to be and become what a woman needs to make life better for herself and her family. Our “under the table” motto has become – We’re nothing if not flexible. Our population of students has changed dramatically with these 20 years as we’ve been sensitive to the changes in life. Our ladies are varied from age, life experiences, family situations, educational background, nationalities, needs. Yet CWJC works for all because God remains the focus of who we are. To God be the glory! Great things He has done.
- Anne Stone
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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.
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I grew up in a middle-class home with a country atmosphere near Birmingham. Love made our home. My mom and dad came from large families. They picked cotton and worked to help put food on the table, so most of their siblings did not finish school. My dad got a job at US Steel providing well for our family. My parents always made sure we had the best opportunities they could give us, but education was not emphasized in our house.
I knew Mom and Dad wanted us to graduate high school and had told us from time to time how important it was to our future. I believe they didn’t know how to help us fulfill the dream or help us with our homework. My parents always had us in mind and found the best public schools for us to go to. However, none of my sisters or I graduated high school.
Like my parents, I struggled with school, but always wanted my kids to get a great education. After not finishing high school, I got married and moved to Huntsville. I got a job at the local K-Mart as a cashier. After working there several months, my boss told us that we were going to have a moonlight madness sale that required us to use old cash registers. We would be left to figure out the final sales price after working out the discounts on our own. I panicked inside knowing I did not know how to do percentages due to my lack of schooling. Luckily, I was not asked to work that night, but it did make me realize that I needed to go back to school.
I started taking classes at a local adult education center and met Fred Applegate who worked with me to fill in the missing pieces of my education. I was doing great until Fred left to teach algebra, and the other tutors did not have the patience to teach me. This left me feeling that I could not learn, just like I felt in the past. I always wanted to be a mom and had my son Aaron when I was 21 and my daughter Kylie at 28. As they grew and started school, I always made sure they never got behind, but my own lack of education kept bothering me.
I tried many different ways to get my GED, but none seemed to work for me. My husband and I divorced when I was in my early thirties leaving me a single mom, with no education, and two kids to take care of. I was terrified of not being able to support my kids. A close friend lovingly pushed me to try to get my GED again. I went back to the adult learning center, and Fred was willing to come back and work with me. I began to make great progress and had taken the GED multiple times, passing all of the required areas except for math. I felt so frustrated every time I tried and failed to pass this one area. I must have given up hundreds of times but kept moving forward.
I remarried after five years of being single and gained four more children, two boys and two girls. This made me want to pass the GED even more to be a good example to all six of our kids.
Christian Women’s Job Corps (CWJC) encouraged me and taught me what I needed to finally pass my GED! A friend suggested I go to CWJC believing they could help me to pass my GED math section. After agreeing to try, I went through my interview with Pat Swinford. I told her that I had told the Lord that this was going to be my last time trying to pass the GED, and then I was giving up. Pat reminded me that I was not God, and to this day Pat and I still laugh about it.
I was so tired and frustrated. When I got to CWJC I knew immediately it was different than any program I had ever been to. I remember my first day it was all like a celebration with many cheerleaders surrounding me. They made everyone go outside, take a helium balloon and let the balloon go, saying “goodbye” to whatever was holding us back. I said “goodbye”, but in my heart I did not think it would happen; but I was hoping it would.
I began going to CWJC and found several challenges with my self-confidence. When I would feel discouraged, it really helped to be in the encouraging atmosphere of the Job Corps and hear them say, “You could do all things through Christ”. They were always reminding me that I could do this. I had agreed to retake the GED after completing the first section of CWJC. I did not feel completely ready, and it concerned me to try to take the test again.
I took the test and waited anxiously for the results to come in the mail. It was so hard waiting! The results finally came, and I had passed my math! The weight of the world came off my shoulders, and I had achieved, after all these years, my GED! I believe the loving care and the amazing encouragement at CWJC was just what I needed to get over my own low self-confidence and pass my GED. In the future I am thinking about going to college and helping others, in my own time, who have struggled just like I did. Thanks so much to Job Corps. I do not think I would have passed without all the encouragement and loving support from everyone!
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First, I would like to thank Mrs. Charmika and Mrs. Elaine for all their hard work and dedication they have put into this program.
Now let me tell you my journey. I became a part of Christian Women’s Job Corps in 2014. I was 24 years old, with two children and was a single parent. My first day I can remember like it was yesterday. I walked into a classroom with tables in a square thinking to myself – I’m really going to have to talk in front of these ladies. I was the youngest student in my class, but God had a reason because I have grown to love those ladies. I want to thank every teacher who taught. I learned all kinds of different skills, such as budgeting money, various job skills (how to prepare and how to dress, etc.). Also, I learned how to deal with everyday life. I learned how to make a resume (which I had struggled with before the program.) Now I’m teaching other people how to make a resume.
CWJC helped me with finding my faith in God again, even gave me the courage to read my Bible. This program helped me open my heart again.
I want to give a thank you to the best mentor ever – Mrs. Jessica Washington. She was a true blessing, very strong, encouraging woman who always gave me the best advice and motivation.
Also, I want to thank Christian Women’s Job Corps for recently helping me to find a car. It really means a lot to me and my children.
I’m now attending community college at J. F. Drake Community College with a major in Business Administration. My dream is to open my own daycare center. I’m very grateful and blessed that I was a part of Christian Women’s Job Corps. I pray this program continues to bless other women just like me.
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CONFIDENCE – that’s what I struggled with before joining CWJC. I thought I could do nothing; that I could not do anything right, and that I had no future. I was afraid.
I joined CWJC when I was going through a very rough time in life. My CWJC staff, CWJC Director, my mentor, and my children gave me that courage and support I was looking for. While in CWJC I made new friends. I learned a lot. Finally, I realized that it was my person- ality that helped me survive. My teachers took time for me after classes. They encouraged me. They were dedicated and loved what they were doing. It showed. I thank them again for their time spent to help me move forward.
I am proud to say that I graduated CWJC with perfect attendance. This too I did not know I could do. All this happened 2 years ago and to date still CWJC is here for me when I need help.
I got through a divorce; I survived. I am free to do what I want. My three children are good students, and my oldest just graduated from college. I am very happy. There are bumps here and there that I have to deal with, but who said life was perfect. Right??
I love what I do now, taking care of the elderly. I never dreamed that I could do it, and I love it.
I hope and pray more women join CWJC. I hope I can reach out to someone who needs that push as I needed to go forward. CWJC has been a blessing for me, and I will be forever grateful.
Congratulations, CWJC, for 20 years of hard work and dedication. I salute you all.
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Maybe you’re asking God for the sun in your life, but somehow, you’ve received a lot of rain. I have been reminded not to be discouraged, not only is God in control of our circumstances and plans, but He is able to bring good from any situation. “’I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not harm you. To give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11). These words from Jeremiah have been my words of inspiration for a long time. God has done what He said in Jeremiah. He is very true to His word.
In 2003 I recall going through a very complicated and disturbing trial in my life. I was married to a very abusive husband with two children, eight years apart. My son has autism and growing up my daughter was extremely afraid of him. She would hide under her bed petrified that he would come after us. She feared what he would do. My daughter’s father threatened to take her away if I didn’t obtain help for Carlos. Finally, I had to separate my children and have Carlos placed in a group home. This was the hardest decision I ever had to make. Carlos was 6 ft tall and weighed 300 pounds. He didn’t have expressive language and would become very aggressive when I couldn’t understand his needs.
During this time, I was being physically beaten for not allowing my ex-husband into our house. He would bang on the door every morning trying to mentally, sexually, and physically torture me. I was at a very low point in my life, totally helpless, in despair, burdened and less than a mom. My heart, mind and body were crushed. I wanted to give up, but I couldn’t. I knew my kids really needed me.
I would look through ads in The Huntsville Times. I saw the ad about the Christian Women’s Job Corps. They were accepting applications for women who needed computer skills, money management, tutoring mentors, and Bible studies – all free of charge. They even had a clothes closet if someone was in need of clothing for job interviews. I got excited each time I saw the ad, but I was so used to being rejected, I carried a lot of negative thoughts. I really thought it just sounded too good to be true. I knew somebody else would probably benefit more from this program. But I wondered – what if I made the call? Would I even get an interview? But I did get that interview and was accepted into the class of 2003.
I knew God hadn’t forgotten me.
The first day of class Elaine had everyone introduce herself and tell a bit about our life. I was the only one in class who cried after I stated my name. I couldn’t seem to get past the pain and hurt I was still carrying at that time.
The instructors embraced me with love and understanding. I learned Microsoft and Excel skills. Each week we had a successful woman come to class and speak about how she became successful and overcame various barriers. They were a source of inspiration. We went on trips to different museums. We learned techniques for job interviews. I was the only student to receive an award for perfect attendance. (We ate well too. Thanks to women from local churches).
Most of all I felt loved, encouraged, inspired, appreciated, and finally accept- ed. I began to feel self-worth again. I am grateful and honored to say how blessed I am that God connected me to this awesome program called the Christian Wom- en’s Job Corps.
I am currently a Property Manager at Lenox Park Apartments in Huntsville, a senior subsidized community for residents 55 and older. I lead Bible study and many community activities. My adult children are doing well. I have now been married for 12 years to a retired 20-year veteran.
For it was by God’s Amazing Grace. How sweet the sound. I once was lost, but now I’m found. Blind but now I see.
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I am a proud graduate of the 2017 CWJC class. I would like to share my testimony of how I came to be in CWJC.
I’m not going to say it was all easy because it takes hard work and dedication to complete this class. But in the end, it’s all worth it, and you feel that you’ve ac- complished an important goal in your life.
My journey started when I was 16 and dropped out of high school because of problems with home life. Fast forward 19 years, when I’m working as a custodian at First Baptist Church and had been for about 7 years.
I would notice ladies dressed up and carrying backpacks and books in the church building. So, I inquired and found that they were students in something called CWJC. I was intrigued when I found out why they were here. It got me to thinking about why I had quit school and all the things I missed out on learning. At first, I didn’t think I would be able to attend because of my work schedule and other issues. So, I left it alone.
God works in mysterious ways because later, my boss mentioned something about me attending CWJC. I just kind of brushed it off because I didn’t think I had what it took to attend. Time, patience, or the ability. She assured me that my schedule could be rearranged for me to attend classes. That was it! I had no more excuses not to go. A few weeks later I turned in my application for CWJC. First day of class was exciting. I met lots of women that had been through difficult times similar to mine. I met my teachers who were so wonderful and friendly. Mornings were great. We would have coffee before class started and talk our pr.
We did this for the few months we were there. This taught me to open up to others about my problems, and it was a real confidence booster. I made a lot of new friends. We also had Bible study class that taught me things about the Bible I didn’t know. It strengthened my faith in God. Our finance class was fun and educational. I learned about making important financial decisions in preparation for my future.
And there are relaxing moments throughout our day. We would all have lunch together and enjoy each other’s company. The meals were delicious. And the most important thing of all was tutoring in preparation for taking the GED. Computer classes came in handy for taking the GED. To this day everything that I learned has been used in my everyday life.
This is my personal testimony that CWJC had a definite and positive impact on my life. Without it, I would never have achieved passing my GED. I have so much more confidence in things I do; I make friends easier and have trust in God even when things are not going well. I make better decisions. My mentor, who was there the whole time by my side, will for- ever be a friend. Love Mrs. Ozier for being with me. The things CWJC has taught I will forever carry with me through life as I use those things and teach others. It has made me a better, stronger, more knowledge- able woman for my journey in life.
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CWJC gave the opportunity for a new start for my children and me. I was a stay at home mom in a badly abusive marriage and living with family that I did not have a good relationship with. I knew that as a mother with two small children, I wanted to give them a better life.
I came to CWJC not knowing what to expect, but I was excited to get out of the house and be around other women other adults. In my marriage I felt like I was in a cage and allowed out only when my husband let me out. The first couple of weeks at CWJC were very emotional as I shared what I was going through. I also struggled with my fear of being judged. But my story was similar to the stories of the other women in the class.
I started gaining confidence and started feeling better about myself. I started planning how to get us out of the bad living situation and marriage I was in. I bettered my computer skills, learned how to manage my money, which was essential as I was about to become a single mom, which I felt I already was.
Through my internship with CWJC, I was led to the job that I have now at First Baptist Church. I have a job where I have the best boss who has been here for my kids and me through everything. I’ve become friends with wonderful people who come and enjoy the food we cook and share their smiles and bless me. Because I’m the daily cook for the church’s weekday program for children, I get to feed and learn and watch those amazing children as they grow.
After graduating from CWJC I went through a nasty divorce, but I gained total custody of my children. During the divorce time, I found out my ex-husband had stolen my identity and had charged over $3000.00 on my credit. I was trying to buy a house, but my credit scores were in the low 500s. However, I was able to find us an apartment and get us out of our bad living arrangements.
CWJC gave me tools that I needed, a great support group and family. I now have the
ability and knowledge to be able to stand on my own feet and make a better life for my kids and me.
Here I am four years later, completely debt free, still at my wonderful job at FBC, divorced, and giving my children a stable, loving, and wonderful life. My credit scores are in the high 700s, and I’m looking forward to buying a house in the future. I am proud to be a CWJC graduate and am thankful for the many teachers who were so supportive and were always pushing me to do and be my best.
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In the summer of 2011, we were living with the upheaval and stress of both my husband and me being unemployed. That reality adds a level of burden, fear, and difficulty upon a family that is difficult to explain. I had been out of the workforce for 11+ years to stay at home to raise my children, so potential new employers did not pay attention to me or my resume when I applied for jobs. I was desperate and pleading with God to help us.
One day during this time, I was online looking for jobs, when an update email came across the screen from my son’s high school. I did not always pay very close attention to these, but that particular day, something inside of me told me that I NEEDED to pay attention to this email. The Holy Spirit works in wonderful, sometimes very small, ways.
The very last item, on the very long email, was an incredibly small blurb about becoming a potential candidate for The Christian Women’s Job Corps. It seemed, at first glance, like this may be an answer to countless prayers. So, the next morning, I excitedly made a call to CWJC at First Baptist Church in Huntsville.
I was scheduled for an interview, became a member of the Fall 2011 class, and the rest is a wonderful story God helped write.
Because of the CWJC, I was able to refresh my rusty computer skills, update my resume, gain my confidence again by going to work each afternoon as part of their “intern” placement program. Even though there were extreme difficulties at home, I remember feeling so at peace when I walked through the doors into that program. Their genuine concern for our betterment was evident in every interaction we had with the teachers/ volunteers. I met wonderful people, made important connections, and three months after I finished the program, landed a wonderful job working with the most incredible group of people. It was all a direct result of the CWJC.
CWJC literally propelled my life in a direction I would never have imagined for myself. I was able to help my family financially during a very stressful time. I thank God every single day for guiding me to an incredible job and people with whom I love to work! I ALWAYS remember that it started with the abundant blessing that Christian Women’s Job Corps has been in my life.
God’s voice is very present in the people and circumstances He allows in our lives. I al-
most deleted the email that day with the CWJC informa- tion. And not another time since that day did I ever see another mention of CWJC in those email updates. If I hadn’t listened to that “inner voice”, I would have lost the opportunity, as many of my friends had never heard of the program. The life I have today is a direct result of my decision to allow CWJC to help me. Their program was invaluable to me and to other women who find themselves in unwelcome circumstances. CWJC accepts women from such diverse walks of life and helps breathe new life, hope and opportunities into them
-- all free of charge to the participants.
I had no idea what my next steps were going to be during that extremely difficult time in our lives, but God knew. He led me to CWJC and the incredible men & women who volunteer their time. They helped protect and guide me until I was ready to receive God’s plan for my life and the life of my family. I will always be extremely thankful for that very specific answered prayer and the enormous blessing of CWJC.
Jeremiah 29:11 -- God knew the plans He had for me. CWJC helped me to find them.
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Christian Women Job Corps coming into my life was what I like to call a “God Thing”, and one of my greatest blessings for many reasons.
The year 2008 had many changes in store for me. I was about to turn 58 and two of my children were close to graduating from high school. I had been a home maker for many years but found myself in need of getting back into the working world due to personal circumstances. In the midst of it all, I was diagnosed with cancer. After my initial shock and many prayers, I had decided that cancer would not rule my life.
As I searched and applied for jobs, I realized I had been out of the working world too long and needed to show that I was ca- pable of doing the work. It was in 2010 when I stumbled across a CWJC ad in The Huntsville Times. “Free Computer Classes” was the attention getter for me and in spite of my brain telling me that nothing is free in life, I cut out the ad and laid it on my desk. Every day I walked passed it, thinking
how nothing in life was free but one day this voice inside me said, “Look, God showed you the ad, but you will have to pick up the phone and call.”
I was accepted into the program at Pat Swinford’s site. Although I was excited, I was very nervous because I didn’t know what I would have in common with all the women who were in my class. We all came from different social backgrounds, but as soon as our Bible Study teacher had us introduce ourselves, I understood that our common goal was to improve our lives. The classes were extremely helpful in my daily life and being able to participate in the internship program gave me back my confidence. After all the years, I still hear our Money Management teacher say “Do you really need this or do you just want this?”, and it has definitely played a role in my financial decisions.
Not long after having completed the program, I heard that CWJC was relocating one of their sites close to where I live; it just so happened to be Pat Swinford’s site. Since I was still in search of a job, my first thought was, “Oh, I would so love to work for her, but she probably doesn’t need anyone.”
Maybe two months later I received a call from Pat. “Hi Chris, the Board has said I need to have an assistant, and the first person I thought of was you. Would you like to work with me?” I began working as Pat’s assistant in 2011.
The CWJC site where I work is different from other sites as it is the only one where women are being tutored to prepare for the GED. Being a part of CWJC, first as a student and now as an assistant to Pat, is a tremendous blessing for me. I get to witness the true meaning of CWJC on a daily basis during spring and fall semesters. Our teachers and tutors are examples of faith and love for this ministry. For the students it’s not only about Bible Study, Job Search, Money Management, Computer, Book Club, Math, and English classes, but also about Life Skills. It is a joy to watch dedicated students flourish and achieve their goals under the guidance of a Site Coordinator who is totally vested in their learning, and teachers/tutors who are committed in their calling to serve in this capacity.
When I said that CWJC coming into my life was a God thing, I can attest that He definitely has had His hands over me when He led me to that little ad in the newspaper.
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“I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, in paths they do not know I will guide them. I will make darkness into light before them and rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, and I will not leave them undone.” (Isa- iah 42: 16). With this promise from God, I embarked on my journey to U.S.A., a door God had opened for me to fulfill my aspiration. Then life happens, and I had new roles and responsibilities to assume. Soon that aspiration fell by the wayside. This devastated me because I thought I had failed God.
After being a stay-at-home mom for about 10 years, I began thinking of re- turning to the workforce. Then I learned about CWJC. I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to attend it. But I hesitated, because I wasn’t sure how CWJC could help me. Later I realized I had better update my computer skills and to learn the PC version of Microsoft Office (because I have been using the Mac version at home) if I were to rejoin the workforce. It was then that I decided CWJC could help me in that aspect.
Little would I know that CWJC would help me so much more. From the Bible lessons Kathleen Cline was teaching, I learned that Satan often uses our fear, insecurity, guilt, shame, regret, and hopelessness to paralyze us into a state of status quo instead of becoming the person God wants us to be, and he stops us from being the light that God wants us to shine. I am so grateful for all the one- on-one conversations with Susan Elder and Lisa Evers. They shared their life stories with me and how God was working in their lives. Their life experiences were insightful -- I had put some blame on my husband for the unfulfilled aspiration, but now I had learned to have better communication with him, and our marriage has grown stronger. Susan and Lisa were also very encouraging to me – they helped me see that the choice I had made in not fulfilling my aspiration was not deemed a failure to God. I also thank God for Don Grove who was so big-hearted to take my call to help me through a job application. I say big-hearted, because he had just had a major surgery and was still in pain. But he picked up his phone anyway and talked me through a psychological roadblock I had in my job application. The internship in a private company gave me new confidence to return to the workforce. The mentorship was invaluable in giving me a friend and confidante in Beth Hoffman to walk me through the road back to employment.
Now I could apply for all the jobs without the fear and insecurity crippling me. I am freed from the emotional bag- gage of being a failure to God. I have come to peace with that unfulfilled aspi- ration; I no longer have any regrets about it. I can apply to jobs with God’s courage. My own human failings had shrunk God into a small box. CWJC has helped me see who the real God is – He is so much bigger -- more loving, more patient, more understanding, and more powerful than my human mind can comprehend. CWJC has helped me unshackled my spiritual chain of bondage of guilt and shame to freely be the child of God, to build new dreams, and to trust God for the future.
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I had lost my job of 20 years and was deeply hurt and devastated. I had no computer skills and all prospects wanted someone with computer skills. In my previous job I did things manually.
I started looking for some place I could learn these skills. I found that the Huntsville Public Library was offering classes. I went to many classes offered. I finished (1-day topic classes), but I needed more. I was out one day and just by a chance meeting, I ran into a lady I had met at the classes at the library. She told me about Christian Women’s Job Corps. She was already enrolled at First Baptist site and told me to go and fill out an application.
I did and was accepted for the Hillsboro site classes. I started classes at Hillsboro and was in the first class there. We had computer training each day, plus we had Bible Study and speakers to come in and speak to us on various topics such as banking, how to dress for success, etc. We learned how to put together an impressive resume. We had internships with various companies in the afternoon after class.
I was involved with the mentor program and had a beautiful lady, Francis Moore, to advise me and help me along. Later I became a mentor to another lady and tried to help in her journey to find employment.
With God’s leading always being a base for our journey, a lady that had spoken to us on how to dress for success told Pat Swinford, our Site Coordinator, about a job opening with the corporate office where she worked. She asked Pat to suggest someone she thought might fit the job description. Pat and the lady decided on me. What a blessing!!! To God be the glory!
An interview was set up with these people. I was hired that day and went right to work that day and have been there ever since. I hired in as office manager. These are wonderful people and a great place to work. I have been there now for 13 years, and I love it. I have grown in my skills and am now the Occupancy Specialist.
My journey was directed by God, and He helped me each step of the way to come into contact with all these fine people who have made such a wonderful difference in my life. Through this direction I was led to Christian Women’s Job Corps.
My time with Christian Women’s Job Corps at the Hillsboro site brought me to where I am now. I will ever be grateful for the contribution to my life that was due to my interactions with the Christian and loving people at Christian Women’s Job Corps, especially Pat Swinford.
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How do I explain what Christian Women’s Job Corps means to me? It forever changed my life. I was watching Channel 31 News one day. A lady came on talking about women and how they could get help with their GED. I thought to myself that this could be an answer to my prayers. It had always been a dream of mine to achieve my GED. This was at a time of my life when nothing seemed to be going right for me or my family. A few days passed, and I finally picked up the phone and called.
I was accepted, and my journey began. My first day I was nervous and excited. The people there made me feel so comfortable and like I belonged. The other ladies and I got to talking and knowing each other, and we realized we were there for all the same reason – to better ourselves. I came to realize I didn’t have any reason to be ashamed.
I was so grateful to all the men and women who gave of their time. When I was there, I wondered why would these people care enough for a complete stranger to give me their time or for the donations that made it possible for me to be there? The gentleman who came and talked to us about managing money or the lady who came and shared the Bible with us. The lady who left her job long enough to teach us about applying for a job. The tutors who spent time with us sharing their knowledge in math, reading and computer class. I am so thankful to these people. You don’t know what it takes to make each day possible until you spend a day there. The ladies who provided lunch to us every day. The materials down to the pencil were provided to us. There was only one thing I could think of – and that was a true blessing from God. This was God’s way of helping me by putting each one in my life.
If I had only one person I know I could call on to talk to about anything, it would be my mentor. Your mentor is with you after the first phase of the program is over. My mentor – what can I tell you about her? She was there for me to guide me. We met and studied our Bibles, and we talked about life. It was nice to have someone who could give me her input on things without judging me. I was sick at the time, and she helped me with resources to get the medical attention I needed. She’s a friend like no other.
This program offers so much. I received my GED on my first try. I went on to college, and I have plans to finish and receive my degree in business. I have a better job today – with benefits. This wouldn’t be possible if it hadn’t been for CWJC.
If there were magic words I could say to encourage a lady to enroll or for someone to donate to CWJC, I would. But I don’t know magic words. I can tell you what a blessing it is. Take time to pray about and let God lead you. He did me. I have been praying myself about signing up to see where CWJC needs me so that I can pass it forward.
Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24
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I recall driving through Huntsville, not knowing where I was going or what to do next. All I could think about was is something I can do to change my life. I was very young, lost, alone, with nowhere to go besides the arms of God; driving, crying, and praying to God for direction toward what to do next.
I found myself parked outside First Baptist Church for reasons that escape me now – 20 years later. I remembered that almost 3 years prior, I would go there for English classes. One of my teachers was the preacher’s wife. I sat in the car – not remembering his name, not knowing what they can do for me or why, but I felt a need to go in. I remember walking through the church, looking through the pictures on the wall to see if I can find his name. Finally, I found it. I looked for the office, went in and asked to speak to him. I was 5 months pregnant with my small son with me. He agreed to see me, and we sat in his office. His first question was, “What can I do for you?”
If you know me, then you know that English was not my best. I said, “I don’t know. I was driving, and I ended up here, but I don’t know why.” I started to try to leave but he said, “You came here for a reason, what it is?”
With tears running down my face, I told him, “I am leaving my husband, and I am going back to Yemen after I have my 2nd child to raise them there. My husband didn’t want another child, but I do, and things are bad at home. I don’t know if my family back home would welcome us either.”
He asks what I’ll do when I get back to Yemen. I told him that I want to raise my chil- dren, go to school, and be on my own. He said to me, “Great, then you have a plan. What skills do you have?”
I looked down and said nothing. I had never worked or done anything in my life other than being a wife. But, he smiled and said, “Well, you have 4 months before you go home. Why don’t you learn some skills to help you when you go back? We have a class that is starting next week Monday – Thursday. They teach how to use a computer, balance a check book, make a budget.”
I was excited. I said, ”Okay, what do I need to do?” When he told me it was called Christian Women’s Job Corps, I knew I wouldn’t fit in. “I’m not a Christian,” I told him, “I won’t fit.”
He told me that he realized that I am a Muslin, but these classes are for all women, not just Christians. “We call it Christian Women’s Job Corps because our teachers and volunteers are Christians.
Let’s find a place for you.”
By 7:00 that night, I got a call that they had a spot for me. In that moment, I felt as though I’d never been happier. I was the first one there every morning and did not miss a class. CWJC was my first step to learning what I can do.
Completing that course is one of my best achievements. Because of that I know I can do anything.
The group I was with was a big help, and we had mentors who were there for us every step. Everyone has a story, and it made my problems seem easier to face. Now I can see I am not the only one struggling to find who they are.
I know that may be a cliché to say but those classes changed my life. All my life, I’d heard, “You are not smart; you can’t do anything; you’re just a mom and a wife. You know nothing when it comes to dealing with finance and household responsibility”.
I could not have gotten where I am to- day without the support of CWJC. I learned the right foundation and mindset to start my life again and have the tools to use. I was determined to finish my education. It was not easy, and took a few years before I was able to go to college, but I did not give up. I went back to school when my son was in high school, I’ve earned my bachelor’s degree and master’s on Foreign Policy and International Trade. Since then I have been blessed having a job that I like and enjoy doing.
Looking at my children now and seeing everything we have gone through together, I can’t say anything, but only with God on my side was I able to get where I am today. My son is 22 years old and in his last year of college, and my 19-year-old daughter is going to her second year in college.
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The story of the early decades of my life and so called “childhood” is truly horrible. The trauma I experienced at the hands of others is something I work daily to remove from my mind. But the part I never want to forget is how much I recognize now, and even to some degree then, that Someone had a Hand of ultimate protection on me. I survived! I’m here!
I know that Someone was and is my heavenly Father. I know too that He can use me and is now – even with all the horrible events I survived. My personality has kept me from ever being entangled with dangerous addictions. What a blessing that is!
My life isn’t where I want it to be or I will be, but I have great hope. That hope includes a better relationship with my children and a career that allows me to be an instrument of peace for others. I’m already on my way with that through my current job and my volunteer work with Safe Harbor Youth Inc.
I don’t know my original name. I don’t know my father. I choose not to remember my past.
At age 46 I learned about CWJC through a woman who was a relative for a time. I was looking for a stronger spiritual support team and solid job connections. I certainly received that and far more. What took me by surprise was what I received in addition to what I had sought. I was gifted a mentor, life skills, computer skills, financial foundation layout, and a forever circle of friends. Since my time with CWJC, my broken branches of family tree are being restored. My children have witnessed a dramatic God-centered change in my life. They have experienced stability with me. Because of CWJC and my personal walk with my mentor, my life is changed. Doors have opened, my faith has strengthened. These changes are lifelong changes – transformations. I am now equipped to walk through this journey with a new mind set and keys to live to become the warrior God has designed me to be.
I currently work at First Baptist Church, a floor above where my journey began. My career goal is to become a Forensic Interviewer for victims of
I will encourage women to give CWJC an opportunity to turn their lives around. This program is second to none all the way across the board. I am so grateful that I followed God’s direction into this path. My history is HIS story.
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One Sunday night I was asking God to help me because I was in a bad place after losing a child. I needed something or someone to restart my life, because I was lost. Long story short, I was job searching and saw an ad for CWJC. I prayed about it, called, and the next day I got a call to come in for an interview, and I went. Then the next day I received a call back saying I was accepted. After a lot of crying and fear of failing, I felt like it was my time to move forward and started this awesome program. It opened up a lot of doors and opportunities for me.
CWJC changed my life. It allowed me to learn skills for getting a job, finances, writing, and public speaking, and most of all Bible study. It allowed me to be with other women who were going though things to make a change and make themselves and lives better. The fellowship is what saved me and made me be a better person to my family and friends. I met a lot of people who cared and are still available to help me now if needed. I call CWJC the best sisterhood you can be a member of. They help and love God.
I am proud to say I went through the program. Because it gives me purpose; it made me humble and gives me a sense to give back to reach out to help others. When giving my testimony, I give God and CWJC all praise and glory for helping me. I tell other people and women the program is awesome. You just have to commit and do the work. It’s the best program to help women change their lifes.
The mentor program is near and dear to my heart. We talked about life, and we had Bible study. My mentor kept me focus and on track to meeting my goals that I had set for myself. My mentor is now my lifelong friend who is still helping me and has no problem keeping me on track.
CWJC is a place that is empowering women to continue on her journey to being a successful woman. It also continues programs even after we graduate. I love each and every one of the people that helped me to be a better me.
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Perhaps I should call my story, “One person’s journey from darkness to enlightenment.”
When I look back on my life, I recognize the many challenges, hardships, and heartaches that I’ve overcome. Those were the moments that tested my strength, courage, and most of all my faith. Every day I reflect on how God has changed me and my life. He brought me through the storms and helped me hurdle over some challenging obstacles.
In the past several years I have dealt with death, depression, anxiety, stress, sadness, madness, fears, and failures. My mind, body, and soul had become extremely tired. I felt as if I were in a fight for my life and could not grasp the obstacles I was facing.
The most traumatic of these times was in 2010 losing my mother and 2011 losing my grandmother. The death of these two amazing women affected me emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I was overwhelmed many times, and thought I was going to lose my mind. Everything had become too much. I felt lost and unable to express my feelings properly because I had refused to allow the proper process of healing. Although this pain was causing a lot of chaos in my life, GIVING UP WAS NOT AN OPTION!
I decided to surrender, put all my faith and trust in the Lord’s hands, because I knew He was the only One who could save me. He was my guide, and the source I needed to regain some peace in my life.
After looking for beneficial ways to use my time while recuperating from a wreck my daughter and I were involved in, I was lying in bed scrolling down my Facebook timeline and run across a sponsored ad for Christian Women’s Job Corps. I did some research on the program, and I gave Charmika a call the next day. First, I asked the age range of this program, to make sure I qualified, and then she explained everything to me very well and told me how to apply. I filled out the application; turned it in, and in the next couple days I receive confirmation of my acceptance. Thanking God for that immediate response!
Christian Women’s Job Corps has marked a huge milestone in my life, as well as my family. On a mission to find myself, I was left feeling in a stuck place. This program gave me courage, helped me grow, face some fears, speak effectively, regain my self-confidence, and help me to communicate my thoughts and ideas. It has taught me how to maximize my purpose and use my difference to benefit others. Being part of this program has been a rising spiritual moment that I will treasure forever.
I would like to also mention that I was provided an awesome mentor. She is an influential key to my growth and progress. She makes herself available to me when needed as well as committing her time and energy. She is always willing to give me thoughtful and thorough input when necessary. She is very supportive to anything I have going on in my life and a true prayer warrior. Love her!
A couple of months after completion of the program, I emailed one of my teachers, Mrs. Anne Stone, to find out if she knew of any job openings. She informed me that First Baptist was looking for full-time teachers. Once again, I called within the next couple of day to inquire about the open positions. Next day, I picked up an application, filled it out and within a week I started another new process. Thanking God for His immediate response. Within two weeks I have a new job. I am now a teacher for Wee ministry. I also have two other friends who graduated with me who are also employed there.
Christian Women’s Job Corps is a program of many resources for the benefit of your future endeavors. There are many helping hands willing to assist you with any situation. The love and support of my family has helped me grow through this program tremendously. CWJC, my mentor, and church have also played major roles on the road to my success.
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I moved to Huntsville in Oct 2014 with my 3 sons Phillip, Elijah, and Scott to reunite with their father. We were all but destitute in the months following my mother’s death in April. We were looking for a new start. With hope and support from family in Huntsville, we began a new journey. I did not have a map or a com- pass. I was praying. I knew God was there, but I was not listening to Him. There were areas of my life that would get brighter, and other areas would get dimmer.
I found a job that I thought would improve my situation and eventually open doors to legitimate job opportunities. I was wrong. I submitted several job applications with no success. Being a homemaker my entire adult life and having no documented job skills or experiences, I found that opportunities for me were very few.
After 3 long years of God’s stepping back and allowing me to run my life, He saw that I was tired. He stepped in again. In January 2018 I received a flyer in the mail for Christian Women’s Job Corps. I glanced at it, half-heartedly thinking, “I’ll give them a call”, and tossed it on the table. The next week I received another flyer. I agonized about it and finally said, “OK I will call.” But I still hesitated. I finally called and left a message for Charmika Merriweather, convinced that she would be too busy to return my call or that she would tell me it was too late. I was wrong again. She called and explained the program and told me what I needed to do. Fortunately, the deadline had been extended. I hesitated yet again and barely got my application in on time. That same week, Charmika called and confirmed an interview for the following week. Later that same week, someone called to inform me that I had indeed been accepted. Despite my delays and anxieties, it all happened very quickly. This was definitely the work of God.
It had been nineteen years since I graduated from high school. I had a flood of so many emotions, but I had to do this. It has been challenging, but the instructors are excellent at motivat- ing and educating. They brought out characteristics that I was not ashamed to share. Each week was easier than the one before. I looked forward to going to class and socializing with my sis- ters. Looking at the calendar, it seemed it would be a long time from orienta- tion to the last day of class; however, it seemed we were finished as soon as we began. CWJC has nurtured me and shown me how to see myself more clearly. Ev- ery day will bring its own challenges as I work to improve. The love I have felt at Christian Women’s Job Corps significantly outweighs the fear I initially felt about starting something new.
I was most anxious about the required Bible study. I knew I was not living my life right, but I was in the right place at the right time. The focus was not on how sin had gotten me into my situation, but how God had brought me here to receive His blessings through His Son, Jesus Christ. He loves me regardless. I do not have to torture myself about my lack of worldly success, but I do have to learn from my mistakes and not continue the journey with self-destructive behaviors.
The CWJC has been a priceless experience for me. I feel I have a new lease on life that will enable me to grow stronger and make better choices. I don’t have a vision of being an executive with a lavish carefree lifestyle. I picture a modest warm home with an inviting yard and simple plants. I picture comfort and stability that welcomes my children for frequent visits home. I see fewer tears and hear more laughs. I finally see myself making these dreams become reality with God’s help. The HOW is yet to be determined.
Several times a year, I will see on any clock the time is 10:34 AM or PM. One night I decided to highlight all the chapters and verses of 10:34 throughout the Bible. The next day I wrote them down on index cards. The most profound for me of these was Matthew 10:34 – Jesus says He is bringing a sword. I believe it is to sepa- rate me from detrimental items, actions, behaviors and people. It is to free me from the bondage to which I have consistently clung. Escaping negativity will not be peaceful, but it will bring me closer to God, and that will bring me peace.
- Liz Hardy
Before CWJC I was a homemaker for 30 years. I raised 4 children while my husband was in the US Army and got his associates and bachelor’s degrees at night. I was not happy. I was mousy, and I cried a lot.
Because I was miserable, I was easily bullied. I considered divorce, but realized I needed to make enough money to support myself. This was frightening to me, because I had only been employed at part time jobs while taking care of my children. I did not feel that I had enough quality experience to even create an impressive resume. So, I cried a lot about that! I felt paralyzed with fear, and I was completely stuck until a friend suggested I apply for the upcoming class being offered by the CWJC. She said someone spoke about the classes at church, and she heard they could “help ladies write resumes”.
I jumped on that suggestion quickly and applied right away. I was so relieved when I was accepted into the 2006 CWJC class, especially since I cried through the whole interview. I was afraid my insecurities would have caused me to be rejected, but I was very wrong!
When the classes started, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was excited about getting help with my situation. I immediately made new friends and together we attended daily Bible study, computer class, resume writing, and interview preparation classes. We also had scheduled times with a mentor that allowed us to share our stories and concerns without judgement or criticism.
All these classes and the sessions with my mentor increased my knowledge of the work place and the processes I needed to gain employment which helped daily to increase my confidence. Before the class was over, I had created a resume that I felt very proud to call my own. And by the end of the class I had the interviewing skills I needed to feel confident enough to schedule several interviews. And, I did just that. By the end of the first week out of class, I was able to secure a good job making more
money than I’d ever made before.
I worked hard at my job and people depended on me and appreciated my efforts. And I got pay raises. It felt good; and I began to feel much better about myself because I was appreciated. And the depression that had plagued my marriage for so long was no longer an issue. Thankfully, I no longer needed to get a divorce.
The very best part about all this knowledge and confidence is that it is mine, and I can use it not only for myself but also for others. When the company I was working for went out of business, I was able to get another job easily by tapping into the same skills and confidence I gained at CWJC. And, several years later, when my daughter was out of work, I was able to help her recreate her resume and find the strength to seek better employment for herself because of the things I learned at CWJC. Anytime someone I know needs help with their resume, I am more than happy to share what I know.
I loved attending CWJC, and I love the transformation that took place in me during this 12-week course. I totally recommend that every lady that needs to enter or re-enter the job market, take the time to apply herself to the principles in this course. It could change her life!!
After enjoying 9 wonderful years of working outside of my home, I resigned my most recent position at DealNews to come back home and take care of my grandchildren. There are 14 of them and they all need me at different times and in different ways. During the school year, I provide a place for many of them to stay when they are sick or on school breaks, so my adult children don’t have to miss work. There is nothing like providing loving care to my sweet grandchildren when they are sick. And during the summer I can provide fun and entertainment, a great place to spend the night, someone to take them to the pool or the movies or where ever our summer takes us. My husband provides for me financially, and we both take pride in the fact that I can support my children and their children by investing in the next generation every single day of my life.
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When I came to Christian Women’s Job Corps, I was broken, confused, and needing to find my way. I am so grateful for this program because I have made so many changes in my life. Before I started, I wanted to give up on life, but since I have attended CWJC, I choose to live life more abundantly. I now have a closer relationship with God. I have gained more confidence, knowledge, and wisdom. I have learned to manage my life better now. I can manage my money better and have paid my bills on time so that I can become financially independent again. The things that I was taught in class have not only helped me to move forward in the positive directions in my life, but I was also able to pass my new knowledge on to my family as well.
When I started the program, I didn’t have a job anymore. I have a bachelor’s degree, but I hadn’t found a job in my career after 7 years. Every bill I had was behind.
Now I have two jobs and all my bills are being paid on time, because I learned how to manage my money. I have started teaching my family how important it is to have a budget and sticking to it will help them begin to save more.
Being in CWJC has taught me how the old ways I was thinking were wrong. Now I realize times have changed so much but my thinking was still in the past. I am now a better thinker and on a positive path. I am truly proud to be a graduate of CWJC and for the friendships I formed along the way. I am so thankful for all the teachers who took out time to teach us, and everyone who made it possible for me to get through this program. I know that this was a wonderful opportunity for me and a blessing. I realized so many other women could have had my spot, but by God’s grace I was chosen.
When God placed me on this journey I knew I had to do my best. This program has given me so much to look forward to. I know that I will always have people I can call on whenever life seems to get overwhelming. I don’t want to ever go backwards to my negative past. My joy is right here now. I can touch it, unlike in my past it felt so far away.
With the knowledge I have gained I would like to keep encouraging people never to give up on life or their dreams. I have been telling women about the program and encouraging them to sign up. Without CWJC I do not know where my life would have ended. CWJC has helped me tremendously in a number of ways. I lost weight, eat healthier, work harder, pray more often, want to learn as much as I can, and I laugh more often.
When I talk to other women who seem to be right where I was before starting the program, I can show them how CWJC has worked for me. One of the best things I received from CWJC is that I can always network with other people and find answers to any questions that I have. Before coming to CWJC, I didn’t know who to ask when I needed help with difficult situations. It feels good to have people care about my success in life, who genuinely want the best for me.
One of the things I enjoyed about CWJC was the mentorship. When I went to see my mentor each time we had some of the best conversations, and we worked really well together. My mentor helped me with some of my stressful situations I was going through. She brought me information that was really helpful for me to make some better decisions. I enjoyed Bible study so much during CWJC classes. So my mentor and I also talked a lot about God. I have always been such a private person but forming the friendship I did with my mentor allowed me to open up about my problems. She made me feel so comfortable knowing she was not there to judge me.
Before I came to CWJC I didn’t trust anyone – not even family at times. Now I am in such a better place in my life. I realize everyone is not out to hurt, lie, steal, abuse, cheat, or misuse me. With the help of CWJC and my mentor I am better at judging people for who they really are now. I learned that my expectation of others was too high. Now I focus on myself more. For me to help other people I need to be who God has called me to be. Every day I will continue to work on being the best me I can be.