Shirley Gossard, who is a retired school teacher, serves as the Executive Director of the job corp and explains that when many of the women begin the thirteen week program, they feel beaten down and discouraged. "There is nothing that is encouraging to them, its just 'this is what I have to do and its just life'...but when they leave and they have a vision, we have done our job."
Kajeanna Jones graduated from the Christian Women's Job Corp in December of 2011 and says that there is no way she would be where she is now, holding a job she loves, without the program. She explained that after she unexpectedly lost her job, she fell into a cycle of depression.
"I would get up, get my kids ready for school, pop a Benadryl, and then sleep all day until they got back.. I was like this cannot go on" explains Kajeanna.
After just a month of the program, she was able to get a job at the Betty Hardwick center, something she says would not have been possible without the self worth and self confidence she gained through the job corp.
In just three days, Jennifer Burtchell will be a proud graduate of the job corp. Burtchell lived in Gulfport, Mississippi when Hurricane Katrina hit. She explained that since then, she has bounced around several times and finally ended up in Abilene, where she found out about the program. She says she was scared to begin the thirteen week program at first, but now, she has no regrets.
"It opened my eyes to a whole new perspective. Now I am ready to get out there and do the best that I can."
With her first job interview in years on Monday, graduation is just icing on the cake. "To be honest, I am really looking forward to it..at first I was like 'Woah, is this a dream', but now, its a reality."
To learn more about how you can sign up for the Christian Women's Job Corp, or how you can volunteer with the organization, visit their website.
There is also a Christian Men's Job Corp in Abilene. Both programs are based at the College Heights Elementary building off of North 17th street in Abilene.