Lydia Tate has served as the Executive Director of Christian Women’s Job Corps of McLennan County (CWJC Waco) for four years. “My path here was one beautiful act of God followed by another,” shared Lydia. “I was immediately drawn to CWJC’s mission of women coming together to learn and grow.”
CWJC offered an opportunity for Lydia to serve the Waco community and help with poverty alleviation. “The disparity in our community is obvious – being able to be hands-on in that space appealed to me,” added Lydia.
The organization has served women in McLennan County since 2003 and experienced significant growth in 2020. CWJC Waco works with women one-on-one to help with GED classes, tutoring, and testing. “We are with them from start to finish, and they are doing everything under one roof,” said Lydia. “We encourage women to use the space for themselves – to study, breathe, and connect to other women while pursuing their goals and dreams.”
Every student determines a schedule that serves their individual wants and needs. “Completing the GED is very difficult, so we make it as flexible as possible to encourage completion no matter how long it takes,” shared Lydia.
CWJC empowers women through a holistic approach that aims to foster spiritual, personal, and professional growth, enabling women to transform themselves, their families, and their communities. “Women are invested in everything we have to offer. They want to strengthen their faith, further their career, develop friendships, and connect in prayer,” said Lydia.
In 2022, Lydia received a Nation of Neighbors℠ empowerment award and grant to recognize her work of empowering women through faith, education, and fellowship. CWJC employee and Royal Neighbors member Juliette Ellis submitted the nomination. “We wanted to hire Juliette as a full-time office manager, but we didn’t have the resources,” said Lydia. “Since she nominated us, we thought the perfect way to celebrate was to hire her with the funds!”
Including Lydia and Juliette, CWJC Waco employs four paid staff and manages more than 50 volunteers each week. Many of the skilled volunteers offer hands-on experience through the mentorship program. One of the current mentees is shadowing her mentor to learn an administrative position.
“We are leveraging our volunteers to help someone who cleans an office become someone who has her own office,” said Lydia.
In addition to GED classes, CWJC Waco provides growth opportunity classes like resume development, computer training, interview skills, job search, salary negotiation, and finance. The organization also offers fun workshops to inspire personal growth and educational workshops to promote career growth.
CWJC Waco’s dreams for the future are to have its own building and continue to expand classes that best serve women’s needs. “One of my personal goals is that every woman will get involved in their community,” shared Lydia. “Everything we do is possible because of what others give, so it is up to us to continue the cycle of generosity.”
“My work at CWJC has been my best journey so far,” said Lydia. “What we’ve been able to build has been a blessing, and I love watching God work in people’s lives.”