“'I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future.'” – Jeremiah 29:11
Bettie Evans, one of the coordinators for the Heart of Texas Christian Women's Job Corps, knows the process.
She knows how, at the start of a semester the ladies will be shy, no eye contact, almost afraid of what is to come. But by the third class, usually, they've begun to relax.
By the end of the semester, each one, in her own way has blossomed – and is fast becoming the woman God had plans for her to be.
Even if the transformation is expected it is amazing to see, and faith affirming to watch, Evans explained.
The first Heart of Texas Christian Women's Job Corps class was begun in 2005, and since then, almost 100 women have come through the program. Those 100 have run the gamut of educational levels and have had gamut of needs.
But no matter how different the women are spiritually, emotionally, culturally and socially, they each have a common denominator need.
The women need to have a helping hand extended to them, they need to be shown there is a better way, and that they deserve that better way.
Classes are small – a dozen per semester is about the maximum since that happens to be the number of computers available. A new group is registering now for the fall semester, which will begin Aug. 27. Semesters are approximately 12 weeks and classes meet mornings, Monday through Thursday. Day care is available if mothers need it. Lunch is provided each class day.
Each day begins with Bible study, and classes alternate to include finding a job, money management, reading, computer skills, English and math, with a sprinkling of life skills, goal setting and nutrition mixed in. In the process of the semester, the women will learn etiquette and social skills, wardrobe coordination, along with tips for health and beauty.
Each CWJC student has a mentor throughout the semester, and typically, the mentor relationships become friendships that extend far past the semester.
Perhaps, most importantly, said Evans, Christian Women's Job Corps opens up doors to opportunity for these women. The success stories are so heartening. A number of the women continue on in school in a college or trade school program.
A favorite success story is of a lady who came to CWJC with a sixth-grade education, and, during the semester also managed to earn her GED, Evans said. During the class field trip to TexasBank to practice interviews, the bank staff wanted to keekp the woman's rusume. And, said Evans, on graduation day, TexasBank offered her a job. Because of her husband's job, the family moved to Gatesville and the woman is now a prison guard there.
“The goal of Christian Women's Job Corps is to instill hope, self sufficiency and self respect in the lives of participants,” Evans said, “and we do that by assisting participants in establishing their self-esteem, setting goals, developing job skills, learning life skills, practicing principles of money management, providing occasions to return goodwill to the community and offering opportunities to hear the presentation of the gospel.”
Evans said to see the successes large and small of the Christian Women's Job Corps ministry is to see God's fingerprints “all over.”
“About all we have to say is 'God we need …' and He provides. It has been such a blessing for us to watch Him work and a challenge for us to stay out of His way.”
There are openings for the next class, and, any woman 18 years or older who feels led to participate in the program is welcomed to be a part. There is no charge whatsoever to the participants.
Anyone interested in being a part of the classes is encouraged to pick up an application at the Family Services Center, 901 Ave. B in Brownwood, or, call (325) 643-1788.
Each applicant will go through an interview process, and Evans said some women fear that, but she said, “they don't understand what we're trying to do. We do not have the interview to turn someone away, we have the interview so we can understand how to best help her.”