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Faith Refuge to Start Job Skills Program

<br><br><font size="2"><p>Christian Women's Job Corps closed earlier this month after helping at-risk women for more than a decade.</p> <p>But now that that door has closed, Mechell Dixon found out another one will soon open with a similar program.</p></font>

Faith Refuge for Women opened on Hatton Road more than a year ago, providing a safe haven for women and their children.

But soon, it will provide women here, as well as women all over Texoma, a place to improve their job skills.

Helping women get back on the road to self-sufficiency is what Faith Refuge is all about but now, this shelter will soon provide a new service.

"We're about to start a new program called Faith Refuge Career Academy," says Steve Sparks, executive director for Faith Refuge for Women.

It's a 12 week course to prepare women for the job hunt.

"The classes will include GED, computer skills, life skills, bible study, nutrition-- everything that a woman would need to be able to get back into the work force or into the work force for the first time," Sparks explains.

For more than a decade, Christian Women's Job Corp offered a similar program for at-risk women.

A severe drop in donations forced program coordinators to pack up and shut down.

But Faith Refuge plans to pick up where Christian Women's Job Corps left off, with Lisa Wester as the academy director.

"I was in education for 30 years and I know that sometimes people don't graduate or they don't go to the jobs they desire because life circumstances. Sometimes it's a lack of confidence and that's something we wanted to provide some skills and education for them so they can get into that work force," Wester says.

The program has not officially started, but Faith Refuge officials say they already have plenty of support.

"Christian women's Job Corps gave us all the equipment they had on site at their location. Region 9 has offered to donate computers so we can offer GED classes. We even received a 15 passenger van," Sparks says.

This is the van that was donated to Faith Refuge Career Academy but the shelter also has several generous monetary donations.

Applications will be available in the office of the Hatton Road shelter on Monday.

And the first 12 week semester will begin September 3rd.

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