Nesa Love

Nesa Reads

Nesa Reads

Once upon a time Nesa Love smiled shyly and made eye contact hesitantly. Years of being unable to read had taken their toll. And then God called her to attend CWJC, something she didn’t want to do at first.

She and Shirley Gossard, CWJC’s executive director, met at an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) celebration two years ago. Gossard attended the event to recruit students for the program. Nesa attended because she has learning disabilities, including Irlen Syndrome, which prevents the brain from processing visual contrasts very well.

Nesa says she acted rather rude to Gossard during that first meeting because anything having to do with learning and school reminded her of her painful history. People had labeled her lazy and treated her impatiently because of her inability to read, a fact she tried to hide. Only her mother, whose help she depended upon, knew her secret.

However God doesn’t give up up so easily.

Nesa and Gossard met again at the following year’s ADA event. Frustrated by Gossard’s insistence that CWJC could help her when she was convinced otherwise because of her inability to read, she blurted out to Gossard, “I can’t read! I can’t see letters printed on paper!”

To her amazement, Gossard, a retired elementary school teacher, was familiar with scotopic sensitivity, the type of sensitivity found in people diagnosed with Irlen Syndrome. She told Nesa that she believed CWJC could help her and that she believed she could find donors willing to help pay for the corrective lenses she needed if Nesa could raise half the funds.

Nesa applied and was accepted into the program.

She says she felt “terrible” her first day. “I was full of anxieties and was late that day,” she says. “It was a struggle to show up. I was sick to my stomach and didn’t want to be there.”

Because of her school history, she says she expected teachers to be impatient with her. There was one teacher in particular, “one who seemed like a teacher from the 60s,” she says, that she assumed she wouldn’t get along with. “She was the most compassionate,” Nesa says.

She says her fellow classmates were understanding, too. All of them helped read assignments to her so she could complete her work. “It was amazing they stepped up to help,” she says.

Nesa credits what she learned in her CWJC money management class as giving her the knowledge she needed to develop a budget and spend her money wisely. Before graduating from the program, she reached her goal of saving the necessary amount of money to purchase her glasses. She had to wait for a ride to Austin, though, where the diagnostician is located.

Her glasses arrived three weeks later.

“I was overwhelmed [after putting the glasses on for the first time],” she says. “I went to the post office bathroom, cried, and read signs on the wall and on the paper towel dispenser. I couldn’t speak for about an hour. I took a selfie and put it on Facebook. I didn’t understand until that day what I had missed in life. Colors were different. Blue is bluer. No wonder I was depressed! I’m reading. This is life altering! I don’t need to have secrets anymore.”

Nesa says she has gone from experiencing depression to becoming a thinker. “Differences can be a gift,” she says. “People haven’t been taught to turn disorders and disabilities into gifts.”

Nesa works as a sitter now, but plans to become an American Sign Language interpreter.

Alumnus Brandy Grateful for CWJC’s Impact on Her Life

Brandy with her new TVWhen Brandy enrolled in CWJC last summer, she says she was at the lowest point of her life. She had recently moved to Abilene, hadn’t worked since 2005 because of a disability, and her only possession was a bag full of clothes.

Less than a year after graduating, she has a relationship with Christ for the first time in her life. She is surrounded by a network of people who want her to succeed. She has a job, a house, and her first vehicle.

“Enrolling was the best thing I could’ve done,” she says. “It all started at CWJC.”

She says she didn’t have a relationship with Christ before sitting in Ms. Betty’s CWJC Bible class and attending church. “There’s an awareness of him, that I’m not alone anymore. I have the opportunity to act on those traits like strength and courage I want to have instead of just saying I want those traits. I have the opportunity to learn where to find how to have that strength.”

She says that what surprised her the most about the program was the overwhelming support she received from the women she met. She says she never had solid relationships with women before enrolling at CWJC. “I had had at most two women friends at a time before in my life. The women I met were genuinely supportive and helpful. They really are decent women. I learned to trust women. We’re like one big family. The women wanted us to succeed for our own benefit, not theirs. I learned how to benefit myself–learned what it’s like to have women who want us to succeed. The program taught me how to deal with people in a positive way.”

She believes that everyone–from the person on the bottom to someone who has everything money can buy–could benefit from the program. “Each of us has something that’s missing,” she says. “Aspects of the program can benefit anyone because such a wide scope of things are covered. Boundaries on all levels and money management. Relationships not just with others but with ourselves. Facing the past and learning how it affects the future. I can guarantee that everyone will hear something in a way they’ve never heard it before. It’s a God thing. Every class ties into the next. Something always happened when we needed it the most. No matter what came up that day, the day ended on a positive note.

Networking provided her access to programs in the community that helped her meet her needs and goals. The program prepared her to talk with representatives of community agencies.

She says her mentor has been amazing. “She arranged for seven guys to show up to help us move. We made it in one trip. I wanted to give them gas money, but they wouldn’t accept a dime. When I was hit by a car, Nan sat with me half a day and all night at the hospital. She never left me.”

She credits the program with giving her the courage to do things she never thought she’d do again. “I am a shift manager and have only worked there since April,” she says. “I was promoted within three months of being hired.”

She adds, “I’d like to act on those traits I want to have instead of just saying I want those traits. I have the opportunity to learn where to find how to have that strength.”

 

Alumnus Irma works as certified hairstylist

Irma at Halcyon SalonIrma enrolled as a CWJC participant in September 2008. She learned to work through fear, discouragement, and doubt in order to stay focused. She set goals and made step-by step plans to reach those goals. Even though she was unsure of her ability to get her GED, she moved forward, completing her GED in 2009.

She graduated from cosmetology school on December 7, 2010, passed her final state exam on December 29, and began working at a local salon on January 2, 2011.  God is good all the time!!!

Here’s what Irma says…

“I started attending CWJC in 2008, with no plans for my future.  I had just been laid off. God had been preparing me, but not to my knowledge.

I have grown spiritually, have received my GED and also completed my long term goal: I became a cosmetologist!  Best of all, I learned to love, forgive, and believe in myself!

God doesn’t make mistakes, because He has always had great plans for me.  I just had to take the next step forward and not look back!

I AM VICTORIOUS THROUGH HIM WHO STRENGTHENS ME!”

– Irma Delgado, CWJC graduate & hairstylist