Marceia Bonin-Turner, a graduate of the CWJC in Nashville, was awarded a $1,000 scholarship; LaDonna Lecoq, a graduate of the Granbury, Texas CWJC, was awarded $700, WMU announced.
The new annual scholarship honors select CWJC graduates who have demonstrated perseverance in achieving personal goals and plan to continue their education.
Imagine being told your entire life that you are stupid and believing it to be true; this is how Bonin-Turner felt before coming to CWJC.
"I came to CWJC broken because of a lifetime of abuse that started with my father and continued as an adult by marrying a man who was also abusive," Bonin-Turner said. "For years, I was told I wasn't good enough or smart enough and I believed it."
Seeing no person to turn to, Bonin-Turner chose alcohol. When Nila Sherrill, Bonin-Turner's CWJC mentor, encouraged her to earn a GED, years of verbal abuse caused Bonin-Turner to believe it was unattainable.
"It seemed like a mountain too high to climb but I took a test and was overjoyed with my scores," she said. "For the first time in my life, I started to believe that maybe I might be able to get my GED. That was really, really huge."
Bonin-Turner received her GED in 2011, and is a straight A student enrolled at Nashville State Community College, WMU reported. She plans to continue her education, earn a master's degree and become a licensed therapist. She credits the CWJC for her success.
"Because of the love and encouragement I received at CWJC, I am literally forever changed," she said. "The positive environment helped me more than words can say."
Sober for five years, she volunteers 20 hours a week to help women who are fighting addictions, and is confidently rebuilding her life.
"God has carried me through so many of life's challenges and helped me endure some of the most awful things that could happen to someone," she said. "At CWJC, I found hope, love, and acceptance. It was so beautiful to begin to believe that I could get beyond my insecurities. That's what I found at CWJC and I have carried that with me into all facets of my life."
Lecoq, a former registered nurse who let her license lapse when struggling as a single parent, described her life as, "full of doubt and low in self-confidence" when she enrolled at CWJC.
After completing basic computer and job-readiness training in CWJC's Christian environment, Lecoq plans to pursue courses in medical billing and coding at Weatherford College and re-enter the medical field.
"Being at CWJC was a wonderful experience where I was surrounded by Christians who were a living testimony of God's grace and greatness," Lecoq said. "I am so grateful for the staff for their love, support and believing in me, and for my mentor, Linda Boysen, for her unwavering encouragement."
"It is evident that LaDonna has grown in her faith and her love for the Lord as a result of being in the CWJC program," Seay said. "Gaining a deeper self-respect has prompted her to return to a medical career, thus fulfilling one of her goals. She is a beautiful person with a heart to serve and help others."
Founded by national WMU in 1997, CWJC provides a Christian environment in which women in need are equipped for life and employment through biblical nourishment. Each participant is paired with a mentor to guide, encourage and keep them accountable. Women receive training in life skills to help them attain education, job readiness and self-sufficiency.
Laura Wilson, a senior at University of Alabama at Birmingham, was a 2013 summer intern with the WMU corporate communication team. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
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