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N.C., Ark. job corps sites recognized

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–Christian Women’s Job Corps of Gaston County in Gastonia, N.C., and Fort Smith Christian Women’s Job Corps in Fort Smith, Ark., will be able to expand their ministry and continue to reach out to women in need through awards granted by the Woman’s Missionary Union Foundation.

Christian Women’s Job Corps (CWJC) and Christian Men’s Job Corps (CMJC) are ministries of WMU that seek to equip women and men, in a Christian context, for life and employment. Each participant is engaged in a weekly Bible study and is paired with a mentor for encouragement and accountability; women mentor women in CWJC and men mentor men through CMJC.

For the past 10 years, CWJC of Gaston County has ministered to women through mentoring, Bible study, and a variety of classes on topics such as self-esteem and career skills.

“CWJC is unique in the fact that we offer more than just a one-time help for our participants,” said Sandra Wright, site coordinator of CWJC of Gaston County. “We are here to see them through until they become self-sufficient and are able to give back to their community.

“We also have the opportunity to truly get to know our participants and come to love them,” Wright added. “We tell them about God’s love for them and show them God’s love through acts of kindness and compassion.”

Fort Smith CWJC was founded in 1999 and has seen significant growth in recent years.

While in past years the site ministered to an average of 40 participants a year, they assisted 48 participants in 2009, and the number continues to grow in 2010 as do related expenses.

As recipients of CWJC site awards, each site received $641 from the CWJC/CMJC endowment managed by the WMU Foundation. Wright said these funds will go toward training volunteers and mentors, purchasing Bible study materials, and providing childcare for mothers while they attend classes at the site.

Valerie Fitch, site coordinator of Fort Smith CWJC, said they will use the grant for needed Bible study materials, expenses related to office equipment, childcare and transportation for participants, and promotional materials.

“Each site is created and is operated by a man or woman who has heard and has responded to the call of God to invest his or her life in other people,” said Jean Roberson, WMU ministry consultant and national coordinator for CWJC/CMJC. “These site coordinators daily live with the broken relationship, unpaid bills, violated probations, lost jobs, isolation and spiritual darkness that exist in the lives of participants. They truly are heroes among us because they continue to believe and express to others that God desires to be in relationship with each person regardless of decisions they have made and regardless of the circumstances in their lives.”

In 2008, more than 4,350 women and men were served at 215 CWJC and CMJC sites across the nation. This occurred through the faithful service of nearly 18,400 volunteers. As these ministries continue to grow, one of the greatest needs at all sites is for committed mentors and volunteers. (Statistics for 2009 are not yet available.) To learn more about volunteer opportunities through CWJC/CMJC, or to find a site in your area, visit www.wmu.com.
Courtney Simpson served as a spring intern in the WMU communications office. She is a recent graduate of Samford University in Birmingham, Ala.

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  • Courtney Simpson