RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP)–Patrice Oats of Dallas is the recipient of the 2006 Sybil Bentley Dove Award, which honors a current or former Christian Women’s Job Corps participant who wants to advance herself through life skills, academic development and faith in God.
Woman’s Missionary Union and WMU Foundation presented the award to Oats at WMU’s Experience the Joy of Missions Conference Sept. 27–Oct. 1 at LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina.
Having faced some severe heartache and pain in her life before Christ, Oats credits the Dallas CWJC teachers, volunteers and pastors with helping her “get back on the path.” That path includes always putting God first and becoming a registered nurse, she said.
“When I came to CWJC, I had very low self-esteem. I knew I needed to make some changes in my life …,” Oats said in her acceptance speech. “I believe that I have a gift to help people and believe I can minister to others through nursing.”
Because of her commitment to her CWJC classes, Oats has been able to rebuild her life and secure a future for her 3-year-old daughter, said Jean Cullen, missions involvement specialist for national WMU who oversees CWJC ministries.
“More importantly, her walk with God has helped to put her back on track to service for Him,” Cullen said.
A certified nursing assistant, Oats had already acquired some college credit in her pursuit to become a registered nurse. But steady employment became hard to maintain after she suffered a stroke.
Shortly after Oats completed CWJC training in March 2005, she secured jobs at two hospitals and immediately re-enrolled in nursing school. She currently has a 4.0 grade point average at Texas Women’s University and plans to graduate in May.
“I graduated from the [CWJC] program on a Friday and started working on the following Monday,” Oats recalled. “I know God provided the job. I thank God everyday as I feel His presence in my heart.”
Through CWJC, Oats, who had very little prior exposure to the Bible, began attending a local church and reading the Bible, reordering her life according to God’s principles.
“From the beginning, Patrice had a real interest in Bible study,” said Oats’ site coordinator and teacher, Paulette Harrison. “I have seen her self-esteem improve dramatically and she has become very focused. She knows what she wants and is intent on completing her degree. Patrice actively encourages other participants and stays connected with her teachers.”
Established in 1998 by Faye Dove Wright in honor of her mother, the Dove Award from the WMU Foundation will financially assist Oats and encourage her toward her nursing career.
Today, Oat’s advice to future CWJC participants is “Always believe in your dreams because with faith you can do more than you ever imagined.”
CWJC/CMJC SITE AWARDS
Two 2006 CWJC sites were honored during WMU’s national event.
Site coordinator V.J. Sanchez of Metro Columbus CWJC accepted an award that provides funds for her site to expand parenting classes and purchase computer software.
Established in 2001, Metro Columbus is Ohio’s oldest CWJC site. Though some referrals are by word of mouth, the site receives most of its referrals from Job and Family Services; the Pregnancy Decision; and Rachel’s House, a halfway house for women coming out of prison.
There are currently 42 women in the program, which teaches classes in anger management, self-defense, self-assessment, computers, pre-employment and Bible. But Sanchez said the center’s greatest need is mentors.
Site coordinator Jeanne Todd of Bethel Baptist Association CWJC in Hannibal, Mo., accepted an award that will help fund textbooks, office equipment and other materials for the site’s new classroom.
Currently, the site offers the only GED classes in Balls County and networks with local churches to provide clothing and emergency assistance and works with local agencies to assist women in job placement, food and medical needs. The site was established in 1999.
The CWJC site awards were made possible by the CWJC Endowment managed by the WMU Foundation.
Christian Women’s Job Corps and Christian Men’s Job Corps provide a Christian context in which men and women in need are equipped for life and employment; and a missions context in which women help women and men help men.
In 2005, 16,000 volunteers ministered to more than 2,200 participants at 150 CWJC/CMJC sites in the United States. To learn more visit www.wmu.com/getinvolved/ministry/cwjc.
To support the Sybil Bentley Dove Award Endowment or the CWJC Endowment, visit www.wmufoundation.com.