CWJC mentor nurtures long-lasting relationships

October 16, 2020

The decision June Whitlow (center) made to become a Christian Women’s Job Corps mentor to Janet Gillispie (right) turned into a 19-year friendship with Gillispie and her daughter, Brittany (left). (Photo courtesy of June Whitlow)

Back in 2008, we told the story of Janet Gillispie, a woman who had no qualms about sharing where God had brought her and what He’d brought her out of.

For years, she had lived in addiction, selling herself to buy drugs or in exchange for a place to sleep. Sometimes she had prayed — but only for God to give her another hit of crack cocaine.

It wasn’t until she was in the middle of giving birth to her daughter, Brittany, that she heard the voice of God telling her He loved her and wanted her. So she kept the baby — she had given up others over the years — and found a rehab program. After that, she got connected with Christian Women’s Job Corps, a ministry of national Woman’s Missionary Union that equips women with life and job skills.

That’s where she met June Whitlow, a mentor who modeled what it looked like to love Jesus.

And because of what happened in that season of Gillispie’s life, we were able to print a photo of her smiling and standing in scrubs at her job as an X-ray technician at UAB Hospital.

Whitlow, a member of Mountain Brook Baptist Church, Birmingham, said that in the years since that picture, Gillispie’s photo has been “all over UAB Hospital” as she’s earned various awards and honors.

And Brittany is following in her footsteps — she’s in her second year of nursing school at UAB and is also working in a full-time role at UAB Highlands.

“They’ve both done well,” said Whitlow, who has remained a big part of their lives. Over the years, Brittany has spent a lot of time at her house and even stayed with her in the summers while Gillispie worked.

Whitlow says she “could not have imagined” that signing up to be a CWJC mentor would end up creating relationships that would last for years, but that’s exactly what’s happened.

“It’s been a blessing,” she said.

By Grace Thornton

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