BY EMILY FORDHAM
I recently had an exchange with a coworker of mine at the Bean Project, who also started working here during August of 2021. I remember meeting her on her first day, and sharing in our initial angst about being new around here. She is graduating this month from the program, after 9 extremely successful months working as a Production Assistant and eventually Lead Production Assistant. We were talking about next steps, for both of us, in this journey of life and she said to me “We’ve both grown so much since we started here last summer.”
She couldn’t be more right, but I have found myself struggling to name the areas in which I’ve grown because they exist on such a deeper level than most things you might add to a resume. I am a better listener, a more empathetic person, and a fiercer advocate for fair chance employment, trauma informed care, and destigmatizing mental health because of my time here.
The list goes on, but a big takeaway is that I came into this experience and intentionally opened myself up to the idea of learning from every person I have encountered while here. This choice was one of the best I’ve ever made in my life. Women like my colleague mentioned above set an example for all of us. They lead with their hearts on how to be better mothers, sisters, friends, coworkers and people in our world. I am so grateful for all the lessons I have learned from them.
We always say “The Women’s Bean Project is not a place you come to stay the same” when orienting others to our mission and business model during tours and other events, but I had no idea how real this would be for me and my time here too. I feel so fortunate to have been a part of so many celebrations, as big as a graduation and as small as just “I am really proud of myself for showing up today.” In the same vein, I am grateful for how much I have been celebrated and appreciated. It’s incredible to know that I have a community of supporters that will keep cheering for me no matter where I go or what I do next.
Emily Fordham (she/her) grew up in Moorestown, NJ but also calls the town of Mashpee, MA her home, as she has spend many summers living, visiting family and working there. Emily graduated in May 2021 from Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, PA where she studied Psychology primarily, with minors in Autism Behavioral Studies and Philosophy. Emily has many hobbies including singing, going on long walks, playing ukelele, eating ice cream, and reading. Emily intends to explore all that Denver has to offer and looks forward to living in intentional community with fellow Loretto Volunteers and serving at The Women's Bean Project.
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