By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent
Cambridge, MD—First Church of Cambridge member, Liz Wright, wants to give at-risk women living at poverty level, a hand up, not a hand out, through Christian Women’s Job Corps (CWCJ), a ministry of WMU. It will be the first CWJC in Maryland, but Wright hopes that eventually it will be one of many in the state.
CWJC uses a holistic approach, ministering to women’s hearts, souls, minds and bodies. Participants learn marketable job skills such as developing basic computer proficiency and they’re taught how to compete in the job market with resume preparation and interviewing techniques. The ladies are also given basic health and nutrition information and they’re taught life skills such as balancing checkbooks and managing money. They also learn about parenting and homemaking.
One of the most important components of CWJC is the mentor relationship. Volunteers give a one-year commitment to the program to walk alongside of the struggling women, form relationships with them, and gently teach, train and guide them in making good, healthy life decisions. Each CWJC is designed to meet the needs of the women in their particular area. There’s only one key component that must be met in each CWJC, wherever it is—women must commit to attending regular Bible studies.
“That’s something I really like about CWJC—it’s individualized,” Wright said. “It meets the needs of the area. It’s not a cookie cutter program.”
It can be a balancing act, Wright said. The goal is to empower the women, make them understand how to be the bread winners if they need to be, yet also help them understand how to be nurturers in their families. And above all, help them become spiritually nourished.
Wright is working to network with churches, community groups and social organizations, including Baptist Family and Children’s Services, to develop a referral system. Jerry Wade, pastor of First Church, Cambridge, said he will partner with the CWJC and be happy to provide referrals.
CWJC leaders will also partner with local businesses in an effort to provide CWJC gradates with opportunities to either get jobs or work in internship positions.
Though a ministry of WMU, CWJC is non-denominational and functions as a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization.
“Our goal is for the women to be believers, but being a believer is not a requirement to come into the group,” Wright said, adding that she hopes that through prayer, being with Godly women, and learning from Bible studies, women will have encounters with God and come to know Him.
Wright was called to CWJC after meeting BCM/D WMU missionary, Gayla Parker at a WMU meeting at First Church, Cambridge. After reading material about CWJC that Parker provided, Wright was intrigued.
“It really spoke to me. Through communication, research, and just continued bathing it in prayer, God really laid it on my heart,” Wright said. When she went for training, Wright said she felt even further confirmation that this is what God was calling her to do.
Gayla Parker is thrilled with Liz’s commitment and plans. “It is my hope that Liz’s site will be the first of multiple sites in our area, especially in our cities where there are so many women who could use a hand up instead of a hand out. I think once we have one site up and running and pastors and directors of missions see the benefits of the ministry it will be only natural for new sites to start.
“Women who have been a part of CWJC in other areas have gone on to graduate from college and begin their own CWJC ministries,” Parker said. Of course, she added, the most important part of the program is providing opportunities for the women to be changed from the inside out.
“It’s great to change the lifestyle of a woman but it is even more important that we introduce them to Jesus and change their soul” Parker said.
Liz said prayers and partners are needed. For more information, or to get involved in this ministry, call 410-310-2321 or email at email@example.com.