By Galen Holley/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – A Christian organization that shapes the lives of women has acquired new, nonprofit status and is considering expansion.
Last month the Christian Women’s Job Corps found out it had been successfully incorporated as a 501(c)3.
“We’re excited about our new status and we believe it will be a step forward for us, but it will also take the workload off the Baptist Association, which has been very good to us in tracking and managing various things, like our finances,” said Cathy Davis, who coordinates the CWJC site next door to Tupelo First Baptist Church.
Since the Tupelo CWJC opened in 1997 it has operated under the auspices of the Lee-Itawamba Baptist Association. The SWJC is a ministry of the Women’s Missionary Union.
The Tupelo site is the longest-running of 20 throughout the state. It’s supported by Southern Baptists and a handful of other area churches as well as by private donations.
“Our goal was always to help the Corps evolve to the point where it could be more self-sufficient, and we’re very pleased with the good work they’ve done and we’re excited about what’s ahead of them,” said the Rev. Marc Howard, director of missions for the Lee-Itawamba Association.
The mission of CWJC is to help women, many from challenging situations, develop job-related skills like effective communication and professional comportment.
The organization offers free, volunteer-taught classes on everything from money management and how to interview well for a job to personal discovery and nutrition.
There’s a spring and a fall semester, lasting 8-10 weeks, with classes meeting Monday through Wednesday, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
At the heart of the CWJC is a strong emphasis on Christian sisterhood and allowing biblical precepts to shape one’s personal and professional life. In addition to the classes, an important dynamic within the CWJC is a mentorship between strong Christian women and their mentees.
Thirty-two-year-old Shannon Heberling was paired with her mentor, Ruth Chastain, in November. Heberling was first introduced to the CWJC three years ago when volunteers from the organization visited her in the Lee County jail.
When Heberling returned to Northeast Mississippi after serving in outreach ministry on the Gulf Coast, she immediately hooked back up with the CWJC for support.
Since the fall, Heberling and Chastain have prayed and studied scripture together and they’ve worked on Heberling’s interpersonal skills to help her land a job doing clerical work.
“If I had to summarize my experience here, I’d say it’s been about sharing the love of Jesus,” said Heberling, the mother of three.
In January the organization incorporated under the name Christian Women’s Job Corps, Christian Men’s Job Corps of Northeast Mississippi, and Davis is hopeful it can soon expand to include a men’s ministry.
Contact Galen Holley at (662) 678-1510 or firstname.lastname@example.org.