Scientist Donates Award to Private Job-Training Charity

Published July 15, 2016

While governments at all levels struggle to achieve their claimed desire to lead people out of poverty, a small group of Christian women in Alabama is tackling the problem directly, without the need for taxpayer funds or government administration.

Although their work often goes on without much fanfare, the donation of an annual award for excellence in scientific inquiry is putting the spotlight on the good deeds performed by the Christian Women’s Job Corps of Madison County, Alabama.

John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science and director of the University of Alabama-Huntsville’s Earth System Science Center, is this year’s recipient of the Frederick Seitz Memorial Award, recognizing important contributions to scientists’ understanding of Earth’s environment.

Christy says he plans to donate the award to the Christian Women’s Job Corps of Madison County, Alabama (CWJC), an organization for which his late wife, Babs Christy, served.

CWJC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to “inspiring and empowering women toward self-sufficiency” and “equipping women with essential skills to improve their lives.”

‘Standing Up for a Principle’

Christy says the award commemorates standing firm and sticking to one’s beliefs.

“It was for standing up for a principle in science; that has faded away in many places now, including the political realm,” Christy said. “I guess it’s an award for courage to stand firm in what the observations and data tell us about climate change and making that known in many public venues, to the scorn of many colleagues around me.”

Christy says CWJC is important to him, as it was important to his late wife.

“The organization basically provides opportunities for women who do not have skills for the job force, to gain these skills. She served as secretary and then as president. It was a real mission in her life. She got involved because she had several friends there.”

Helping Others Up

Anne Stone, a member of CWJC’s board of directors, says the nonprofit organization is all about people helping other people achieve self-sufficiency.

“When we first began, most of our ladies were from low-income [backgrounds],” Stone said. “We have a number of women who have been out of the workforce for some time, either due to raising children or they had a husband who supported them and through some difficult times, they’ve been either widowed or divorced. They don’t have the skills or the confidence to get back in the workforce.”

Charity, Not Coercion

Stone says CWJC is supported by individuals’ voluntary charity, instead of compelled taxation distributed by the government.

“All of our sites are in churches or buildings owned by churches, so we don’t pay rent,” Stone said. “Our church had started a building program, and they decided in the building fund that they would give 10 percent to missions. I asked them for $20,000, and we got it.”

Tori Hart ([email protected]) writes from Arlington Heights, Illinois.