History of Pivot
Start Up Phase
Pivot Ministry is the Forsyth County affiliate of Christian Women’s Job Corps/Christian Men’s Job Corps (CWJC/CMJC), a ministry of National WMU (Woman’s Missionary Union). The 20+ year-old CWJC/CMJC model is based on a proven set of Biblically-based core values, while ensuring that each of its nearly 200 sites is customized to the community in which it is established.
In early 2015, Ardmore Baptist Church in Winston-Salem began discussions about creating a Forsyth County CWJC site. Carol Polk was hired in October 2015 as site coordinator. She met with numerous leaders and residents in the county to identify existing services for the financially challenged, gaps in those services, and opportunities to collaborate with other providers.
Through this situation analysis, Carol and Pivot’s Preliminary Advisory Council identified a group of under-served women: financially challenged women without dependent children in the home. The woman’s readiness to commit to making life changes was a primary factor in identifying initial participants. These working-aged women could be single, married, or divorced, and could even be empty-nesters or those who had lost custody of their kids. Other key characteristics included her commitment to attend weekly classes, interest in building community, and openness to Pivot’s Biblical foundation and one-on-one Christian mentor.
To find qualified candidates, Carol turned to Pivot’s strong network of community relationships for referrals of women matching this list of characteristics. After two rounds of interviews and with God’s leading, eight women accepted the invitation to participate.
Pivot’s first semester began at the end of February 2018 with an orientation event, followed by the first day of class on March 1, 2018. Dedicated volunteers and representatives of partner organizations led weekly classes in life skills, job readiness, and Bible study, while various individuals and groups provided delicious lunches each week.
Each mentor/participant pair worked out their schedules for one-on-one meetings soon after they were matched. Participants made meaningful contributions to curriculum choices, eagerly attended classes, formed a close community, learned much, and applied significant lessons to their lives. Six women flourished and graduated on June 23, 2018, with a host of family, friends, volunteers, and community members in attendance. As the graduates hoped, public attention came through newspaper, magazine, and television coverage.
Pivot’s subsequent semesters apply lessons learned to enhance the same model and adjust to the ever-changing economic environment. Pivot’s adaptable curriculum offers classes in life skills, job readiness and Bible study, with participant input. Incredible mentors, instructors, volunteers and donors invest their time, talents, skills, funds, food, other gifts and prayer into Pivot as the engine that keeps it running. For now, the initial characteristics remain as the identifying criteria for Pivot’s participants, seeking referrals from partner agencies and accepting self-referrals from low-income, working-age women who are:
- ready to make a change in life;
- without minor dependents in the home;
- willing to commit and to participate in weekly classes;
- receptive to building community with others;
- open to a Biblical foundation and a one-on-one Christian mentor.
Inaugural Board of Directors
The plan for Pivot Ministry at its inception was to become a separate nonprofit organization, and the process began mid-year 2019. Even before finalizing bylaws, creating articles of incorporation, or filing with the IRS and the state of North Carolina, Pivot’s first step in the separate nonprofit process was to form an official Board of Directors to replace its Preliminary Advisory Council. June 18, 2019, marked the first meeting of the new board, which was made up of Forsyth County men and women with a wealth of experience and a wide diversity of background and skills. Subsequently, talented, knowledgeable volunteers were recruited to serve on board committees and build Pivot’s solid structure regarding Finance, Fundraising, Governance, and Human Resources.
Official Nonprofit Status
In the spring of 2020 during a global pandemic, Pivot received word that the IRS approved its 501(c)(3) status as a public charity, and the NC Secretary of State granted Pivot’s Solicitation License. Meanwhile, Ardmore Baptist affirmed its continuing positive relationship and ongoing support. The ministry is poised for sustainability in transforming lives and empowering folks to become all they were created to be.