When a woman comes to see Christie Gambrell at Christian Women’s Job Corps in Rusk County, Texas, she may be looking for help getting her GED or learning English. But that’s not all she will get.
“At CWJC,” Gambrell said, “We help meet the felt needs of women as we help them find their true worth through Jesus.”
As executive director of Christian Women’s Job Corps (CWJC) of Rusk County, Texas, Gambrell has worked with hundreds of women. The CWJC chapter, which opened its doors in Henderson, Texas, in 2002, seeks to reach women with the love of Jesus while helping equip them for life and employment.
Among CWJC’s diverse offerings are English as a Second Language, which includes citizenship classes, and Life Skills training, which addresses such topics as money management, healthy relationships, computer proficiency, Bible storying and mentoring. Volunteers also provide literacy and high school equivalency (GED) tutoring. Additionally, CWJC of Rusk County is one of six CWJC programs in the nation that include a WorldCrafts artisan group, a fair trade compassion ministry of National Woman’s Missionary Union.
Noting that “we work with about 50 women every year and usually about that many volunteers,” Gambrell said, “When you work with this many women, you see women who succeed and women who don’t. But that’s true in every form of education and Christian ministry.
“We’ve had some wonderful successes,” she added. “Each semester we see women successfully enter the workforce. This past year we had four women who received their citizenship. We have women who’ve gone to college. We have one who’s working on her master’s degree right now.”
She said they also have participants “who we’ve gotten to see their children go to college and their children get awards which is so fantastic because that goes back to the founding thought of Christian Women’s Job Corps that you’re changing the children’s lives and changing the family.”
Nita Tirado is among those success stories. She first came to CWJC to get help with earning her GED. She then enrolled in the Life Skills classes where she gained computer skills and other practical training.
Even more significantly, she learned about the Gospel of Christ and accepted Jesus as her Savior. Following her CWJC involvement, she successfully found employment before eventually getting married and becoming a stay-at-home mom.
Her CWJC classes “gave me confidence in general,” Tirado reflected. “My favorite class out of Life Skills was Bible study,” she added. “It was amazing for me. It really was. I just felt peace. It was something that I was needing at that time in my life.”
Over the past few years, Tirado and her husband have been paired with a CWJC volunteer couple who provide mentoring and Bible study.
That connection “has been very important in my family’s life because our mentors are the sweetest people,” she said. “In my life, I’ve never had anybody like them. They show you love as a couple. They’re older and they’re still holding hands and that just gave me this really nice feeling of that’s how I want to be with my husband when we’re old.
“The mentoring has been the biggest thing that has helped me in my life,” Tirado noted. “It helps us to be better parents and to guide our kids on God’s path. That’s the biggest blessing of coming here for me.”
Gambrell noted that recruiting mentors typically is one of the biggest challenges for most CWJC sites.
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Source: Baptist Press