I am Women’s Bean Project: Haben

I am originally from East Africa and came to the U.S. when I was 11 years old. My parents sent me and my sister here because of the conflict at home and we lived with my aunt, who was abusive and not a good person. She made us work in her store and would not allow us to speak English or do our homework, so we failed in school. We were not allowed to contact our parents and even though we learned English at school, we didn’t graduate from high school. My sister, who is a year older than me, ran away at 17 and I followed her soon after. We worked at convenience stores and lived with friends. I have worked minimum wage jobs for years and have also worked part-time for the College Living Experience for 10 years on weekends. I clean and restore dorm rooms and apartments to get them ready for young adult students with disabilities. I met my boyfriend 13 years ago and we have two children, a girl who is 11 and a boy who is 10. We separated 7 months ago, but he is still helping me with the kids. I am currently living in an apartment in Aurora with my kids, but am waiting for a new apartment in Greenwood Village to be closer to my children’s school.

I found out about Women’s Bean Project from my sister after she found a flyer at the Gathering Place.  I’ve never had a full-time job, something consistent. I want to provide for my children and this is an opportunity for me to do so. My life is different today because Women’s Bean Project has helped me gain confidence in my communication and provides me with a consistent job. I didn’t think I was a good communicator until I went through the mock interviews and conflict resolution classes. I would normally not speak up right away, but now instead of holding things in, I share it right away. The Bean Project has helped me gain more confidence and self-esteem.

My short term goal is to get my GED so I am taking classes to help me achieve it while at the Bean Project. My other goal is to gain more confidence driving and to get a car. I would also like to own my own business doing the same work I do for the College Living Experience. I like the way I am, but I need to believe in myself and be a stronger person and to believe in my abilities. I came to Women’s Bean Project to show my son and daughter how to believe in themselves. I also run marathons and am actively trying to beat my personal best time.  My main goal is to be a strong person that my children can look up to. To be a better provider and have a secure future.

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