Before women start working at Denver’s Women’s Bean Project, their lives are not centered or sustainable. They don’t seek or tackle responsibility. Once they step through the WBP doors, that begins to change.

“Before starting at Women’s Bean Project, my life was a mess,” said Brittany. “I was on probation in three separate counties. I had lost custody of my son at 2 weeks old. I had no job and no stable housing.”

“Before starting at Women’s Bean Project, I was a single mom struggling with stability in many aspects of my life,” said Kayla. “Being at The Bean, gives me a sense of security and peace. It’s not just a job to me.. it’s my community.”

“I didn’t realize that I was in a rut,” Monique said. “I came to Women’s Bean Project because a close friend of mine worked here and she was smiling everyday and looked happy with life. Now, I have a new outlook on life. Women’s Bean Project has changed the way I think, the way I believe in myself.”

Every Spring, Women’s Bean Project celebrates graduates of its transitional employment program at the Ready Set Grow luncheon. Since 2019, Kyle Dyer Storytelling has partnered with Women’s Bean Project and produced video stories for the event which also serves as a fundraiser for the social enterprise non-profit.

Over the course of 6-9 months at Women’s Bean Project, the women work as a team on the production floor preparing food mixes, assist with retail sales or shipping. Learning to work well with others, trusting others and having responsibility are equally difficult to adapt to when employees start because of the trauma and disappointment that used to rule their lives. That changes quickly.

“Being around other women that have been through many of the same things I have been through and to all be working towards the same end goal of change in our lives is something that has kept me going,” said Kayla who now is a leader in the shipping department. Not only is she positively influencing other women, she is able to better care for her son. They have their own place. She bought a car for the two of them and she’s reconnecting with her family, most of whom live out of state.  She admits she used to avoid talking with them because she didn’t want them to know what was going on/going wrong in her life. She’s now very proud of who she is re-becoming.

Brittany graduated from the Women’s Bean Project in November 2023 to be hired on a a production supervisor.  She sees many similarities between where she was last year and where the new participants are when they arrive at Women’s Bean Project.  “I just want all of them to end up as happy as I am and just feeling as successful as I am,” Brittany said. “I’m able to show up for things. I wasn’t able to do this before, but I’m able to be present and learn things and meet new people and a have a good life.” Brittany now thrives on responsibility, not only at work but also at home. Now that Brittany is sober, she has custody of her son. “I missed a lot of things in his first eight months, but now I get to witness milestones and watch him grow,” Brittany said.

Monique graduated from Women’s Bean Project in January 2024. “I am not the same person I was when I stated here,” Monique said. “And that’s alright with me.”

Like many of the women who join Women’s Bean Project, Monique was once incarcerated and that made finding a job hard, especially a job that made her feel good about herself. When Monique arrived at the Women’s Bean Project, she felt seen, heard and respected. “They taught me some self value that I forgot I had because I was being referred to as a (prison) number 1 1 3 5 5 3,” Monique said.”  And here, they referred to me as Monique.”

Because of the heart of the mission (on top of the fabulous products and customer service), Women’s Bean Project is well-respected outside of Colorado as well inside. By opening its doors and guiding women who have had no support, the Bean is helping in the transformation of not just the lives of its employees but the lives of the families and friends of the women employed, and the greater community in which those women live.