Women’s Bean Project, April 2019

KeHE’s team traveled to Denver, Colorado to meet the ladies behind Women’s Bean Project.  For over 30 years they have been transforming one life at a time.  Our cohort group worked alongside the women in the program on the production line.  They received education about how the program works and what makes it unique.  With a 93% success rate, Women’s Bean Project is helping to break the cycle of poverty by providing job skill training and dignity to these courageous women.

Beth Neal, Human Resources

“The Women’s Bean Project was a remarkable experience. At this event, I was assigned to make bows for the gift baskets. Being super un-crafty, the thought of making a bow gave me immediate anxiety. There were two women assigned at the bow making station that provided the training. They were very patient and super supportive as we attempted multiple times to make the perfect bow. Finally, our efforts along with their training, paid off and we were able to make around 50 bows that were basket eligible.

During our bow-making, we had fantastic conversations with these two women. One of the women shared with us that she was very nervous to train us on how to make bows as she was intimidated by us. We told her that she did not come across as nervous at all, and she did an amazing job showing her confidence while she trained. We admitted to her that we even feel unsure of ourselves in our roles at work too. We talked about how important it is to empower and support each other as we work to achieve our goals. We talked about her dreams following the program and we shared ours.

I loved every minute at this event. I want nothing but success for these women.”

Jeff Gram, Treasurer

“This is a very impressive operation. There is a presumption of capability and worth imparted upon these women which provides an opportunity for them to get back into a workforce that, unfortunately, appears to discount them at the onset.  I applaud the volunteers, supporters and other people behind this project for providing the opportunity for these women to acquire the skills required to build a better life. I was able to talk to women whose participation had ranged from several days to several months, and I could see the confidence and hope within the longer-term participants.”

Linda Stielstra, Exclusive Brand Management

“Working alongside the ladies at Women’s Bean was truly inspiring. The women I worked with were taking the opportunity provided by Women’s Bean very seriously and were eager to take advantage of all the classes available. One of the ladies who impacted me the most was one week into the program. She shifted from disbelief that the Women’s Bean Project was giving her this opportunity to deep gratitude. She beamed when she spoke about how proud her daughter and her five-year-old granddaughter would be if she could turn her life around and achieve full-time employment.

The management at Women’s Bean was equally as inspiring. When the management team spoke of their mission and the ladies they served, you could feel their hearts oozing compassion and hope. However, their standard remained high and they did not waiver on execution requirements. It seemed that for many of the ladies in the program, this was the first time anyone had expected more of them and they were eager to rise to the occasion.

Overall, it was an extremely impactful experience. I have such admiration for Tamra Ryan and her team for how they are tacking the cycle of poverty and unemployment for women who desperately need a second chance.”