The newest class of women has been selected to join the Hand UP for Women family. In celebration of their new journey, we wanted to share some history and details of what’s to come.

What is the Hand UP for Women vision?

Hand UP for Women envisions a Knoxville community where all women, regardless of culture or socio-economic status, are well-equipped to wisely manage their lives and sustain adequate employment to meet their needs and secure their family’s future.

Hand UP for Women is a life-management and career-readiness ministry, yet it is described as so much more by the participants. Athena Gray, a member of the Hand UP family, describes it this way:

“A special big THANK YOU to all the women at Hand UP for Women that have made it a point to make me feel loved, seen, heard, my dreams important and valid, and to help set me up for success as long as I set myself up for it on my own first! I can’t believe I am doing this, but so glad that I am! For once, I feel like I am headed in the right direction in my life for me and my children! You ladies do more for some of us than what you know! It’s unexplainable!”

The Newest Class

Five fortunate women were just added as the newest Hand UP for Women class. Women are added to the Hand UP family three – four times a year, never to exceed 15 total due to classroom capacity.

Women contact Hand UP on their own or are referred from another program. During an in-person interview with Executive Director, Eva Pierce, candidates are screened to make sure they are serious about changing their life, are not in active addiction, are not actively in a violent relationship and are compliant on all prescribed medication.


For 12 or more months, women participate in eight or more hours of classes and mentoring sessions per week. The projected graduation date for the new class is March 2024.

Life management and career readiness skills are taught with an intentional foundation of spiritual development. In addition to personal development, women bond through new friendships with other women whose stories differ in specific detail, but most often have a common thread of trauma and hopelessness.

A sampling of classes

This class demonstrates what it takes to function appropriately in polite society. The women learn business and table manners, grooming techniques and appropriate dress, poise, and gracefulness.

Anyone can find a job, but building a career is totally different.  The Career Building class is structured to help each person discover their ability to live a life filled with hope and a sense of purpose.

Class members learn how to take back the control of their money. They learn skills that help them immediately and prepare them for a successful financial future.

This course is designed to take each participant from sitting down at a computer for the very first time to being able to operate in today’s office environment. Sessions include keyboarding, computer operation, maintenance, navigating the internet, e-mail, and Google Workspace.

Participants are instructed in the do’s and don’ts of successful employment interviews including handling tough questions honestly, what an interviewer can and cannot ask, and how to be a proactive applicant. Then each participant applies these skills in mock interviews.

During this class, the women explore “The Relationship Principles of Jesus,” by Tom Holladay. The women gain insights into fulfilling God’s intention for all their relationships–even the difficult ones.

What is the right way to be angry? Is there a Godly way to be angry? What part does forgiveness play in managing anger? This class delves into all this and more.

This class helps participants settle issues and feelings that have brought them where they are today. The women find the true meaning of forgiveness, both for others and themselves.

In this class, participants learn the basic skills necessary to keep cars in good working condition and extend the life of the vehicle. The instructor, an experienced mechanic himself, also directs the class about how to spot dishonest auto mechanics and avoid being cheated.

As a non-profit, Hand UP for Women operates on a limited budget. There are many ways that those interested can donate time, treasure and talent.

Ways to help

Every woman in the program is matched with a trained mentor to serve as her personal support, accountability and encouragement source. Mentors attend a one-day training on a Saturday then, once matched, they meet with their participant once a week.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, before class, groups and/or individuals provide a meal for the ladies. This is invaluable for the ladies and instructors that come straight from work. Some meal providers sign up for the entire year’s classes and are scheduled for the same night each month. Others prefer to just provide one or two meals a year.

Several times throughout the year, there are celebrations for the ladies when they graduate, meet a goal, or for a holiday. Special treats and prizes are always needed for those celebrations. There is also a yearly fundraising gala that utilizes sponsors and table hosts to make it a success.

Donate items or services to our online auction, October 21st-30th.

Participate in our Sara Johnson Memorial His and Hers Bass Tournament on November 5th.

To learn more about this amazing ministry or to offer support, Contact us by clicking here or by phone at 865-525-9696.