By Julie Walters
(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) – Feb. 20, 2012 – Christian Women’s Job Corps (CWJC) of Central Mississippi in Jackson will be able to expand their ministry and continue to reach out to women in need through an award granted by the WMU Foundation.
Established in 2000, CWJC of Central Mississippi offers a variety of classes including practical application Bible study, household budgeting, Jobs for Life, HIV and STD awareness and testing, women’s health, computer literacy, and parenting skills.
“What’s unique about our site is we are the only faith-based, non-profit organization in our area where women teach women and minister to the whole woman,” said Robin Mabry, site coordinator since 2009.
Mabry said the grant that accompanies the award will be used to set up classes for participants in forklift safety and certification training compliant with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standards.
“We have found that our students exceed in light industrial environments, unlike clerical environments,” she explained. “It raises the potential pay scale to a higher level for them and opens doors into that industry.”
CWJC of Central Mississippi is one of 206 registered and certified CWJC/CMJC sites across the country. 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.
God’s provision has enabled these sites to encourage and equip participants in their spiritual journey, job skills, and more. In Mississippi, Mabry said she can see God’s fingerprints all over their ministry.
“God has been faithful in so many ways, from guiding us in a transition with our board of directors, to changing our curriculum this year to better fit the needs of our participants, to providing for our financial needs,” Mabry reflected.
“We can never out give God,” she continued. “Our volunteers and mentors realize this as well with their service. Many of them come into this thinking they will be a blessing and find out they are the ones being blessed by being an example of Christ to hurting and lost women.”
Many CWJC graduates also give back the ministry because they know firsthand the impact it makes. One shining example is Annie Shirley, a pastor’s wife who found herself living in a shelter with her children after her husband passed away and she had no means of supporting her family. She discovered CWJC of Central Mississippi, graduated from the program in 2004, went on to earn a college degree, and now gives back to other women in her community as she serves as president of the board of CWJC of Central Mississippi.
CWJC is also very personal for Mabry.
“I lead in this ministry because of my own personal journey,” she shared. “My mother was 15 and unwed when I was born. She had no job skills and dropped out of school in the tenth grade. She struggled with making many bad choices, but she did the best she could with what she had.
“I followed her pattern by making bad choices of my own as I became a teenager,” Mabry continued, “and started doing drugs and getting involved with adult men. I had some Christian encounters sprinkled throughout my life, but it was in 1999, when I married my second husband, that some Christian women started pouring into my life and telling me God had a plan for me. That is when I decided to give Jesus a try.”
Mabry said Jesus began working in her life, and she started telling others about the love of Jesus and praying with them. “That’s when I thought to myself, ‘What if my mom would have had someone to help her . . . how different my journey would have been?’”
It was shortly after that Mabry learned about CWJC of Central Mississippi and their need for a site coordinator.
“I ran as fast as I could telling God I wasn’t ready,” Mabry recalled, “but He told me I was and women needed to hear my story about His love, mercy and grace in my life and how He transformed me. This ministry is my testimony.”
According to Mabry, current needs at their CWJC site include monthly donations and more volunteers.
“It’s expensive educating an adult who has no resources and limited education.” Mabry shared. “The expenses we cover range from insurance to general office supplies like pens and paper for us and participants. We also need some mature Christian women to pour their experience with Christ in their own lives into these ladies we are teaching.”
Mabry accepted the 2011 CWJC site award during a national CWJC/CMJC training at national WMU on Jan. 26, 2012.
To learn more about CWJC of Central Mississippi, call (601) 259-9980 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To find a site near you, visit www.wmu.com/jobcorps.
Pictured (L-R): Jean Roberson, national WMU ministry consultant responsible for CWJC/CMJC; Tammy Anderson, missions consultant, Mississippi WMU; Annie Shirley, graduate and president of the board of CWJC of Central Mississippi; Robin Mabry, site coordinator, CWJC of Central Mississippi; David George, president of WMU Foundation; and Sandra Nash, state CWJC/CMJC coordinator, Mississippi WMU.