“Every person has a dark side. What defines a person with good character is not a spotless life of constant kindness, smiles and even temperament. But rather, it’s the yearning to learn from your mistakes, applying it, making amends for them and choosing not to repeat them that defines good character. These are the friends to keep in your life because they have stared adversity in the face and became a better person because of it.” ~ Shannon L. Alder
Today’s organization is dedicated to giving women second chances. The mission of the Women’s Bean Project is to change women’s lives by providing stepping stones to self-sufficiency through social enterprise.
The Women’s Bean Project was founded in Denver, Colorado in 1989 by Jossy Eyre. She was working at a day shelter for women and saw the same women visit the shelter multiple times. The shelter was providing the women with a safe place to stay, but the women were not gaining the necessary skills for self-sufficiency. Jossy used $500 of her own money to purchase beans and put two homeless women to work.
The Women’s Bean Project serves as a transitional employment program, but they are set apart from other programs by teaching life skills and skills necessary for job placement to the program participants. They want the participating women to be successful in the workplace and in life. Approximately 25% of their time is spent in classes learning skills such as conflict management, financial management, organizational skills, computer skills, and job readiness. These classes make them ideal candidates for employment when they graduate from the program. You can hear stories from the women impacted by this program on their website.
The products that the Women’s Bean Project participants create are gourmet foods a recent addition of a jewelry line. The participants work with women jewelry designers to learn the basic skills of jewelry-making to create limited edition pieces.
How can you help?
- You can support the mission of the Women’s Bean Project by purchasing their jewelry items and food, including soup mixes, cookie mixes, coffee, tea, sweets, and more.
- Volunteers are needed throughout the year as job coaches and life skill teachers. Volunteers are also used when the product demand is higher and for special events. You can learn more about the various volunteer opportunities and fill out a volunteer application here.
- You can also make a monetary donation on their website.