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Struggling Women Rebuild Lives 1 Bean At A Time

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Women working for the Women's Bean Project (credit: CBS)

Women working for the Women’s Bean Project (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – The Women’s Bean Project is designed to help struggling women get back on their feet. CBS4 reported earlier this summer just how many need that help. Now the women are hard at work rebuilding their lives a bead and a bean at a time.

The Women’s Bean Project makes ingredients for soups to be sold at stores in Colorado and nationwide.

CBS4 introduced viewers to the Women’s Bean Project back in June when over 100 women showed up to a pre-hire orientation ready and willing to make a change. On Wednesday CBS4’s Jane Monreal got up close and personal with a few of the new hires.

PREVIOUS STORY: The Women’s Bean Project Works To Help Those In Need Help Themselves

Paula Atkinson spent 10 years at the Department of Corrections.

“For that length of time you have all that time to reflect on the wrongdoings in your life and how you want to better your life,” Atkinson said.

Atkinson said her biggest challenge is to reconnect with her family. But at least for now she’s heading in the right direction, riding her bike 36 miles every day to work.

When Tywanda Johnson got out of prison she went back to school and started looking for a job — for her children.

“I am their role model and I want them to be positive,” Johnson said. “I don’t want them to go through what I went through.”

Karen Stewart also wants to be there for her family, including 11 grandchildren.

“I expressed to them that I’m here to change my life and become a successful, law-abiding citizen,” Stewart said. “That’s what I’m here to do.”

Stewart is happy to work the assembly line with an immediate goal of being team leader.

“It’s beautiful, it’s team work,” Stewart said. “That’s what makes the Women’s Bean Project work — it’s team work.”

CBS4 will check in with the same women in a couple of months when they’ll be expected to be further along in their ultimate goal of making positive changes professionally and personally.

Women’s Bean Project soups are sold in 450 stores nationwide. That includes all King Soopers and City Market stores and most Safeway stores.

LINK: Women’s Bean Project

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