I am Women’s Bean Project: Harrisa

I am a recovering exbank robber. I’ve learned to live my life humble and know what it means – the value of life, freedom, being a mother and grandmother, and being able to get up every morning to show up for myself. I ran with gangs, I fought, I sold drugs. I’ve never really had real honest friends. So I am a loner. What I did with being a loner was start to learn about myself and stay out of denial about myself. When I came to Women’s Bean Project my skills finally made sense. I didn’t understand a lot of my skills before. I do now.  

Before Women’s Bean Project, I was losing my mind a bit, having to learn how to live my life normally. But my past is what made me who I am today. I am proud of my past, never ashamed, no regrets because my past is what it took to straighten my life together and grow up. It’s what it took to do what I’m supposed to do as a mother and a woman. I had to stand up for myself and show up for myself. 

I’m proud to not have given up in ways that I can. I’m not talking about success or my life–not that way. For me I’m proud because after knowing a certain way of life for so many years and knowing so many people that are still a part of that life, I’m not returning to it. 

I’ve been through too much to return. I’ve put a lot of effort into rehabilitating myself, especially in those areas where classes don’t help me. Just knowing where I’ve come from and what I’ve done to keep myself together keeps me grounded. That’s a lot of motivation right there. 

Women’s Bean Project helped me to just say “it’s okay to believe in your dreams and go for them.” And the slower it takes, the better it will be. Don’t rush the world; never feel like the world is not moving fast enough. Because time will tell you exactly who you are and exactly what you’re supposed to be.  

Being around other recovering adults and seeing them show up for themselves every day was big too. That helps someone else to get through their struggle. To see other people who can actually do this and run a business; that means a lot to me from where I’m from. Just seeing people who have recovered from something continue to show up for themselves every day brings magic into this place. 

It felt like family all the time at Women’s Bean Project. Even on the bad days there was someone there to talk you just as if you were a daughter. It was always family. So, when I would come in and feel something was wrong, I would always want to make it right if I could. I would always want to make it okay for someone else. For me this is family. 

I’m excited about all the love in my life. I’m excited to be an example of some sort to my family that no matter what road you choose, you can rise above anything. The love of my family is thick and the respect is even more so. We’re all imperfect – even my children. They have their own journey and I won’t judge them through it because they need to learn. But I can be an example. That’s what I want to teach them. 

Every chance I get I want to help a struggling peer. I’ve always had someone in my life that has struggled or hasn’t been able to pull it together, and I love that I’m able to make someone comfortable enough for them to trust me so that I can try and help. 

In the future, I want to own my own cleaning business. My desire is to hire women who have been in prison for two years or longer because they’re driven, dedicated and appreciative. So I’m going to hire ex -felons to help me clean houses.  

I want people to know it’s okay to give people a try. It’s just fine. Give someone a try. 

4 Comments: View or leave one of your own!


  • Deirdre says:

    Harrisa your story is so inspiring. I want to congratulate you for a job well done. I wish you continued success.

  • D. Porch says:

    Harrisa, I am so very proud of you, and so glad to see that WBP has been such a great support to you. Please continue to do great work. I’m rooting for you! 😀

  • trisha says:

    Hi, Harrisa!

    I’m super excited. Today, I received the email from Women’s Bean Project (WBP) which had your personal story.

    Would you believe it? For dinner this evening my daughter-in-law made cornbread from a WBP mix with YOUR NAME ON IT!!!!!

    I wish you the VERY best. Be proud of yourself. You’re a strong woman and you have so much potential🌷

  • Darcy says:

    Harrissa your commitment to changing your life is inspiring! Your commitment to helping other women is even more inspiring!

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