Special needs daycare is honoree's goal
RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (BP) -- Bobbi Leath is one step closer to realizing her dream of opening a daycare for children with special needs, thanks to her participation in Christian Women's Job Corps, a ministry of the national Woman's Missionary Union.
Leath, of Rankin County, Miss., is this year's recipient of the Sybil Bentley Dove Award, given annually to a current or former CWJC participant who advances herself through life skills, academic development and faith in God. The award includes a financial grant.
Leath, whose son has cerebral palsy and daughter has epilepsy, knew opening a daycare center would necessitate obtaining her GED and a college education. The quest for a GED brought Leath to CWJC, where she says she found so much more.
"The Job Corps was like being with a room full of sisters," Leath said. "The ladies were uplifting and seemed interested in the vision I was dreaming. They helped me see God has His hands in this dream and that I am just a vessel for His hands to work."
While all the women in CWJC were influential on her journey, Leath said Mary Callahan, director of CWJC of Rankin County, impacted her during her interview to join the program.
"I sat and told her my story," Leath recounted. "With her uplifting spirit, I knew deep down that I was in the right place."
Debbie Boykin, Leath's CWJC mentor, described Leath as determined and optimistic.
"Bobbi has a passion and feels called to help other families that are facing the same challenges she has had to deal with," Boykin said. "I am so proud of her accomplishments so far and know she will reach all her goals."
Leath said her life has changed in "big ways" since coming to CWJC. In addition to earning her GED, she has greater confidence in herself and a stronger relationship with God.
"He is forever changing and molding me into the person He intended," Leath said. "I have completely let Him take the reins to guide me to do His work."
Leath is pursuing a degree in child development and child care at a community college, where she earned a 3.538 GPA her first semester.
The national WMU started CWJC in 1997 to help women improve their lives, empowering them with biblical nurture, Christian mentoring and job training.
To learn more about opportunities though CWJC, visit www.wmu.com/jobcorps.
The Sybil Bentley Dove award is given annually to an outstanding CWJC graduate. CWJC site coordinators across the country send in nomination forms telling why a graduate from their site is deserving of this award. All nominations are reviewed by the national CWJC advisory board which is comprised of leaders in CWJC who serve in various capacities. The advisory board then sends their recommendations to the WMU Foundation; the WMU Foundation reviews the findings of the advisory board and makes the final selection.
Kristin Easterling, a senior at Auburn University in Auburn, Ala., is a former intern with the national WMU corporate communications team. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).