WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- We often hear from viewers who want to see more coverage of the positive things going on in our community. In an effort to do that, we are showcasing the Christian Women's Job Corps, a group all about helping poverty-stricken women transition back into the real world. The world can be changed if you "just add hope."
"I have these women who will surround me and give me positive feedback and tell me they love me, that I can do better, that I can be someone," said Tameka Nixon, a woman now going through school with the help of the CWJC. "I don't have to live that lifestyle. I don't have to go back to that lifestyle."
Nixon grew up in a very rough neighborhood in Wilmington. She lost her job a couple years ago and was headed toward homelessness; then she found the Christian Women's Job Corps.
"We're all the same. We're all here doing the best we can, taking one step at a time," Director Mary Ellen Bowman said. "There's always a better way to make better choices and decisions and work toward goals and dreams. It's OK to dream."
Bowman says the program is all about women mentoring women, many of whom have been molested, abused, homeless or arrested and put in jail. There are currently five women being helped because there are only five mentors. Bowman encourages women who are loving, compassionate and non-judgmental to give mentoring a try.
Nixon originally wanted to volunteer but felt that she needed to actually go through the program first.
"When I do become able and stable enough to become a volunteer, I'll be able to show that woman that I've been through the same situation they've been in," Nixon said.
"It's a hand up not a hand out," intern Sharon Smith said. "The women have to work hard. And to have somebody walk alongside them that can help them to learn those skills just means they have that opportunity to get out of poverty faster than if they were doing it on their own."
Smith said there are barely words to describe how exciting it is to come alongside a woman and watch her step out and stand up.
"I’m not supposed to be in that environment, and I've had a lot of people tell me I'm not supposed to be in that environment," Nixon said. "I'm supposed to get out of that environment and turn around and help them."
The Christian Women's Job Corps adds hope by empowering women who have always been told they can't to know that they can.
Bowman said mentoring is a long-term commitment that's all about breaking the poverty mentality.
If you're interested in volunteering or you're a woman who needs help, visit the group's website.