STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
BURNET — Four members of 29th graduating class of the Christian Women’s Job Corps of the Highland Lakes took home more than a diploma April 26.
Miranda Maldonado, Isabel Ramirez, and Juanita Ramirez each received a sewing machine to help them earn extra money, while Brandi Wilson secured a job at Unshakeable Grounds before graduation.
“They’ll be able to do some sewing at home,” said Christian Women’s Job Corps site coordinator Brenda Rienstra. “That’s something we’ve never done before.”
Beth Johnson was the other graduate.
All five received something more valuable: skills to get secure employment, self-confidence, and hope for better things to come.
There was no better example of their self-confidence than when they each spoke during the graduation ceremony, Rienstra said.
“They each had to talk about what the program did for them,” she said. “They learned to build self-confidence and self-esteem to get out there and better themselves. Some just needed a second chance at life.”
Rienstra noted the importance of the program.
“Four of these ladies didn’t know how to type or sew on sewing machines,” she said. “They didn’t know how to get on a computer.”
The women also connected with the community through a service project. The students made little dresses and comfort quilts for the Burnet County Child Welfare Board along with other items to give to the community, coordinator said.
“They learned to give back,” she said.
The Christian Women’s Job Corps provided the five women a place to learn those skills and more. The job corps, located in Burnet, teaches women how to become more self-sufficient and independent. Sometimes, a woman might have been married for a number of years and relied on her husband’s income, but due to a death or even divorce, she finds herself struggling. Or, other circumstances in a woman’s life might have left her with few skills or even the confidence to help her find a job.
The Christian Women’s Job Corps offers women a place and an opportunity to learn job skills and build confidence. In the end, they realize there is hope for them and their future.
Go to cwjchl.org for more information.