GALLERY: Covington Christian Women’s Job Corps graduates eight in third class

Published 9:15 am Wednesday, August 30, 2023

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The Covington Christian Women’s Job Corps held their third graduation ceremony with eight ladies completing the program at the Covington Baptist Association on Friday, August 25.

This is the largest class to date since the Covington CWJC was formed two years ago. The graduates are Amber Atkins of Geneva, Sadie Bateman of Slocomb and Dothan, Kristie Gerry of Enterprise, Rachel Hawkins of Gantt, Devin Sanders of Destin, Florida, Heather Smith of Dutton, Alabama, Tesia Straughn of Andalusia, and Garah Sutton of Brundidge.

Following their ceremony last Friday, all eight women graduated from the Crossover Ministry program Saturday, August 26. The third class began on April 7, 2023. Similar to the first two classes, topics taught included Bible study, a parenting class, and life skills. The third session completed a Bible study titled “Women of the Bible” and a parenting class known as “Parenting: Christ Centered Parenting.” Additionally, four of this year’s graduates accepted Christ into their lives during their session.

“This study was new to us. We found that the participants thoroughly enjoyed portraying one of the women of the Bible. We added group exploration to this session as a time of guidance into self-exploration. This was led by Sandy Robbins, former director of the local Sav-A-Life program,” Site Co-coordinator Judy Phillips said. “We are very proud to announce that we began our third class with eight participants, and all eight women completed the program today,” Site Co-coordinator Shirley Smith added.

Mentors spent one-on-one time with their students and helped them set both short-term and long-term goals. This year’s class learned life skills such as preparing a resume, learning how to dress appropriately for jobs, interviewing, budgeting, and balancing a checkbook. Field experts from the local community assisted with teaching classes.

For Straughn, the CWJC was a very good program for her.

“It has helped me out a lot, and I love the ladies so much. They helped me with the Bible and more. They are God sent. Thank you all so much. I love you all,” Straughn said.

Sutton, who earned her GED this session, and Bateman both felt their participation in the CWJC was a blessing.

“It has helped me in many ways by encouraging me and giving me the tools to use in the real world. My mentor Michelle Sutton has been wonderful and was very personal and full of encouragement. I would like to extend a special thanks to all the ladies involved. I love you all so much,” Sutton said.

“The women God has placed here are truly the embodiment of Christ’s love, and I have been so blessed to get to know them. They have taught us how to find our worth in Christ and fervently prayed with and for us. My mentor Amber Vierling has lifted me, cried with me, and pointed me to scripture. I will never be able to repay her for her support. Thank you, CWJC, for loving us the way you do,” Bateman said.

Hawkins considered the one-on-one mentoring to be her favorite part of the program.

“This was very good for all of us. Ms. Judy is an awesome lady and role model. Keep God first, and all things will fall into place like family, relationships, jobs, and more,” Hawkins said.

Atkins and Sanders, who is a college graduate, were grateful for everything they were involved in during their time in the program.

“I enjoyed getting to know all the women involved. They have given me a push in the right way,” Atkins said.

“Thank you, CWJC, for all you have done for me. I enjoyed every moment we spent together. All of you have been a blessing, and I will never forget any of you. I love you all,” Sanders said.

Smith stated the CWJC helped lift her spirits and made an impact on her life.

“I have enjoyed CWJC for pouring into me and giving me encouragement despite life’s challenges. This program let me know I am loved, and I am important in my family’s life as well as others’ lives. They have encouraged me to learn from my past but not to stay there and to move forward. I love each and everyone involved with CWJC. My mentor Janet Brantley was a blessing, and I’ll always remember our sessions and prayers together. Thank you, CWJC,” Smith said.

Gerry, who is a high school graduate, took away several benefits from the program as a result of her participation.

“CWJC has showered me with love, mentorship, and spiritual leadership. Each person involved made time to care for, and comfort me in my time of need. The many classes and one-on-one mentorship with my mentor Charlotte Hawkins allowed me to let my guard down and receive what the Lord wanted me to have during this season of my life. I will forever cherish the memories made and relationships sealed in love,” Gerry said.

The fourth session will begin this fall on Oct. 7. Assistance from the community is once again needed for the program to continue.

“We need your help in the way of prayer warriors for these young ladies, mentors, and folks who will provide a meal each Friday for the group. Mentoring requires about an hour of training, so we can also set you up for that. You can contribute financially to the cost of meals or groups of folks like your Sunday school class, or WMU can provide meals as a group. I can’t say enough about the many volunteers who have already stepped up to the plate to be a mentor, pray for us, provide a meal for us, or make a financial donation to CWJC,” Phillips added.

Dr. Otis Corbitt of the CBA led everyone in attendance with a word of prayer. Dr. Josh Wilson, pastor of Southside Baptist Church in Andalusia, spoke at the event with a special message to the eight participants of this year’s class.

Mentors of the third class were Jena Anderson, Janet Brantley, Mindy Day, Charlotte Hawkins, Philann Stewart, Michelle Sutton, Amber Vierling, and Christy Younce.

The purpose of Christian Women’s Job Corps, a compassionate ministry of the national Woman’s Missionary Union and Covington Baptist Association, is to provide a Christian context in which women in need are equipped for life. The CWJC’s purpose is fulfilled when a woman has basic life skills necessary for sufficiency, which includes substantial employment, adequate income, housing, transportation, childcare, and medical care.

Since April 15, 2022, CWJC has met every Friday from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. at the Christian Service Center in Andalusia. The organization currently shares a room with the food distribution ministry and is included in the CBA’s annual budget.

Those interested in volunteering with CWJC should contact Phillips at or 850-228-5020 and Smith at or 334-488-4715.