10 Years. 10 Charities features Women’s Bean Project

Since 1989, Women’s Bean Project has been dedicated to helping women break the cycle of poverty and unemployment.

The Mission: To change women’s lives by providing stepping stones to self-sufficiency through social enterprise.

The Vision: Women’s Bean Project strives to break the cycle of chronic unemployment and poverty by helping women discover their talents and develop skills by offering job readiness training opportunities.

With this stepping stone toward success, the women will be able to support themselves and their families, and create stronger role models for future generations.

The Program:

The Women’s Bean Project is a non-profit business dedicated to helping women break the cycle of poverty and unemployment. Our goal is to provide each program participant with a safe, accepting work environment where she can learn to identify and build upon her talents while building the skills necessary to get and keep mainstream employment. We do this by providing employment training in our gourmet food production business.

Each program participant begins her time at the Bean Project on the production line. During the initial Probationary and Stabilization period, participants focus on the basic skills needed for employment such as coming to work on time and staying on task.

As participants move into the second phase of employment, expectations increase to include individual goal setting and team leadership, and the focus broadens to include skills such as problem solving and effective communication.

Training tracks provide our program participants with the opportunity to work in various departments throughout the organization, offering them additional skills and the chance to try different kinds of work. Training tracks are offered in reception, shipping and receiving, sales and marketing, off-site sales, public speaking, and accounting.

The program has three basic components, each designed to address areas that serve as barriers to getting and keeping employment.

Meeting Basic Needs and learning Life Skills and Fundamental Job Readiness. For in-depth information about the program click here.

Throughout the course of six months, we work with program participants to help them discover their capabilities and interests. As they approach the end of their training, participants will decide whether to further their education, access more training through another community nonprofit, or search for a new job.

Women’s Bean Project graduates have found jobs at many businesses including Wells Fargo Bank, The Colorado Trust, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Safeway, Old Country Buffet, Denver Health Medical Center and Marriott’s Residence Inn.

Check out the numerous Women’s Bean Project YouTube videos:

Working Yourself Sick

It may seem admirable to work yourself sick, but the longer you burn the candle at both ends the faster you’ll burn out.

At this point mainstream medicine doesn’t recognize burnout as a medical condition, but every doctor knows that stress is a contributing factor many modern illnesses and diseases.  In natural health and wellness circles, we know that burnout leads to adrenal fatigue.  Which comes from overstimulating the stress hormones that regulate our energy levels.  Everyone is different and have a different thresholds for managing stress.  Generally, in our teens and early twenties we can get away with burning the candles at both ends.  Working long days, partying until the wee hours of the morning and our bodies generally can bounce back.   This can be deceiving as we believe that our energy reserves are limitless, which is far from the truth.

As we continue to burn the candle at both ends, our adrenal system can go into overload and can no longer regulate healthy cortisol levels.   The hard thing about adrenal fatigue is that it doesn’t happen overnight, it happens over years of working too much, and not managing stress levels.  Sometimes a big event can trigger adrenal failure (accident, loss of a family member or friend, divorce etc.) where the next day you can’t get out of bed in the morning.

How do you know you are on the track towards adrenal burnout or even experiencing adrenal fatigue?

  • Feeling tired all the time and needing stimulants such as drugs, caffeine, and/or sugar to get you through the day.
  • You experience physical aches, pains and seem to be prone to fluctuating weight gain and loss.
  • Little tasks, like sorting your mail, checking your voice mail, responding to an e-mail feel like they are overwhelming and can even make you teary eyed.
  • You get irritated easily and little things like waiting in lines and sitting in traffic will throw you over the edge.
  • You have to force yourself to workout and you feel so heavy and tired even after a short workout.

What can you do to prevent adrenal fatigue?

  • Get lots of sleep and rest. I know that your monkey mind will fight this and judge you for being lazy, but sleep is one of the best things you can do to prevent burnout and general illness.  In many other cultures across the world, napping is common and widely accepted.  If you care about your health and well-being you will put society’s judgement aside and try to get 8-10 hours of sleep per night and if needed,  squeeze a short nap in sometime in the day.
  • Stop rigorous exercise. If you are worried about your weight, don’t.  If you keep forcing yourself to exercise, you will eventually go on bed rest and won’t be able to exercise at all.  Instead try to do things you enjoy that are less vigorous, maybe a yoga class, a walk around the neighborhood, dancing and playing outside.  When I did this, I actually got leaner, not heavier and it was exactly what my body needed.  If you force your body to do things it doesn’t want, it will hold onto extra weight as a defense mechanism.
  • Cancel all extra appointments and engagements. I am a big proponent for having a positive and healthy social life and support system.  When you are battling burnout, this is the time to turn inward and to not over schedule yourself.  If your job is over demanding you may need to consider changing jobs or ask for more flexibility or less hours.  Once again I know this is a hard one, but I only want to remind you that if you don’t make this change, your health and well-being will pay for it in year of recovery.  It took me over 2 years to recover from adrenal fatigue.  I am so grateful that I had the right staff to keep my business going while I focused on my health.  I know that not everyone has that luxury but we all have to make some tough choices in our lives.
  • Seek help and support. Self care in our society is not something that is taught to us in mainstream circles, so it is important for us to make the personal choice to value our health and well-being, which is why being healthy is such a revolutionary act. Invest in your health, get a weekly or monthly massage, get Acupuncture and definitely seek the advice of a Naturopath to get you on some supplements to help you recover from adrenal fatigue.
  • Take Supplements. These are not magic pills, but give your body the nutrients that it normally doesn’t get through your food, no matter how healthy you eat.  Supplements boost your immune system and prevent illness and disease.

Making a commitment to your health and well-being is the first step towards preventing or recovering from adrenal fatigue.  Be gentle on yourself, life is a journey not a destination.  Putting yourself first is one of the most important things you can do on your journey towards good health.

All my best,

Sharon Hwang


November is Cranio-Sacral Awareness Month!

Curious about CranioSacral? Have you heard about it and contemplated giving it a try? Well, we are giving you 2 easy ways to experience this powerful treatment:

Offering FREE Cranio-sacral upgrades on any massage(s) with one of our Certified CranioSacral Therapists for the month of November: Bill Woodall, Amy Gage or Dana Marlow. All three of these senior therapists have had years of experience working with clients using the CranioSacral Therapy techniques and the results are truly astounding! They are each incredibly talented and yearn for the opportunity to share this amazing modality with more people.


Book a 60 minute CranioSacral session with our very own Co-Director, Kris Wood. Kris is not certified, but has completed the Upledger Institute’s CranioSacral Therapy I training, thereby, achieving CranioSacral Practitioner status. She is extremely gifted and passionate about CranioSacral Therapy and has been seeing staff/friends since completing her initial training in August. She is continuing to work toward Certified status by taking CranioSacral II training in February 2012. Sessions with Kris will be $45/hr.

Book with Kris:
Mondays: 1:30-4:30pm
Wednesdays: 3:30-6:30pm

National Massage Awareness Week October Monday, 24th- Friday, 28th

To celebrate National Massage Awareness week we are offering $50- full body 60 minute massages to individuals that have never had a massage in their life! (over 40% off our regular rate).


  • Must be your first massage ever (honor code)
  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Must book your appointment at least one day in advance (spaces are limited)
  • Only available for 60 minute massages
  • Valid for National Massage Awareness Week, Monday, October 24th – Friday, October 28th, 2011.

Spread the word and share the positive and powerful benefits of massage to someone that hasn’t experienced one yet.

The Amazing Power of Cranio Sacral Therapy

Are you experiencing…

• Headaches/migraines
• Backaches
• Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ)
• Chronic pain
• Emotional trauma
• Depression
• Bell’s Palsy

CranioSacral Therapy can help!!
CranioSacral (CS) Therapy is a very gentle, hands-on manipulation that allows the therapist to access the core nervous system in an unobtrusive manner. Inside the lining of the head is a membrane system, called the dural membrane system, which extends downward into the lining of the spinal cord and connects to the sacrum. Hence, the name “cranial” for cranium and “sacral” for sacrum. Inside the lining of this membrane system, flows the Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF). The motion of this fluid is able to be felt anywhere on the body. CS therapists use a very light touch to tune into the rhythms of the CSF motion, otherwise known as the cranial wave. This rhythmic motion is normally six to twelve cycles per minute.

The CranioSacral therapist can gain access to the dural membrane system, also called the CS system, through the bones of the cranium, the upper neck, the sacrum and the tailbone. The therapist is able to discern faults and disturbances in the rhythm and apply gentle holds and techniques to return the faulted areas back into its optimal movement pattern.

In the most general sense, CS Therapy works to restore balance throughout the body by directly accessing the central nervous system. CS Therapy commonly creates an environment that allows stress, emotions or repressed memories to surface. The therapist provides a comfortable and safe space for whatever response the individual may experience. This treatment brings clients into a new level of awareness as well as enhanced mental and emotional health.

Finding Joy in Everyday Life

I recently read an article in Experience Life magazine that said that the majority of Americans spend less than 20 percent of each day doing what could be termed very engaging, enjoyable and meaningful activities (such as talking with close friends, bonding with loved ones, creating, playing, or pursuing a spiritual practice). Instead, most of our time and energy are spent either engaged in unsatisfying work activities and chores (commuting, standing in line at the post office, fixing broken appliances), or decompressing in ways that bring neither joy nor challenge (watching TV, snacking or just “doing nothing”).

Lets face it, living in today’s modern world is not easy. We generally all have to work to pay our bills, buy groceries, maintain all the stuff that we own (homes, cars, clothes, furniture, gadgets the list could go on and on). How is that we ever find time to engage in meaningful and enjoyable activities? Many of us after coming home from a long days work, just want to “zone” out in front of the television.

Does it have to be this way? At the end of the day all each of us wants is to feel good and happy. Is there a way to cultivate happiness in small doses on a daily basis?

Here are a few tips to help you engage in daily engaging rituals that create curiosity and joy.

1) Reconnect with play. This could be as easy as setting up a game night once a week with friends or family.

2) Be curious and ask questions. Many of us go through the day or meet someone new and don’t inquire about who they are. Start asking yourself and others more questions, become self reflective. Why do you do the things that you do? What motivates you?

3) Hang out with young children. If you don’t know of any children in your inner circle find a place to volunteer at that will get you around young children. Or just hang out in a local park, bring your lunch and watch the kids play. Their curiosity and playfulness will rub off on you.

4) Slow down. Are you the type of person that over schedules your day? Do you find that you barely have enough to eat let alone enjoy a walk in the park? Trying scheduling 30 minutes out of each day to slow down. Maybe it is just taking time every day to get a cup of coffee or tea and read a magazine or book.

What do you do to bring joy to your day to day life?

Beat the Cold and Flu Season with Chinese Medicine

Autumn is here! The change seems to have happened overnight. The morning air is crisp and the days are shorter. You may find yourself a little more focused and serious than during the carefree days of summer. Fall is the time of year to prepare for the cold months of winter and to reflect on the year that has past.

According to Chinese medicine, fall belongs to the Metal element and corresponds with the lungs which control the entire respiratory system. The elegance in Chinese medicine is that it respects and observes the changes of the seasons and provides us with guiding principles to harmonize our energy with that of our environment. Autumn is thought to be the time of year that the lungs are most susceptible to illness due to the dry, cold air and thus is the time for us to focus on respiratory health and reinforce or rebalance one’s Metal energy.

Our lungs enable us to take in fresh air, from which we generate “qi” (or “life energy”) while we exhale toxins, stress and the pent up emotions that can weigh us down. Like the season, which bridges the warm months of summer to the cold of winter, the lungs bridge our interior and exterior environments. The lungs have a great deal of responsibility when it comes to maintaining optimal health; they provide the first line of defense against external pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria that cause common respiratory issues.

Our lung qi dictates the strength of our immune system. When lung qi is strong, our immune system is efficient and our body has sufficient energy to tend to daily tasks; however, when lung qi is weak, we are more susceptible to catching colds, asthma attacks, allergies, general fatigue, sore throats, coughing, shortness of breath, respiratory and sinus infections and the accumulation of mucous.

With the arrival of fall and cooler temperatures, there is a natural sadness that many people experience. Greif is the emotion of the lungs and Metal element. The Metal energy is responsible for characteristics such as integrity, structure, personal boundaries, logical thinking and meticulous work. If you are a Metal dominate person, you are someone that is honorable and truthful; people know exactly where they stand with you. You do not like chaos or conflict, but prefer order and control .You tend to be a perfectionist and are most likely an expert in your career.

Because the mind and body are inseparable, when our qi is blocked we can experience imbalance both physically and mentally. You may feel sadness or grief more often. It may become hard to express yourself. Perfectionist tendencies can lead to disappointment or a critical self-image. What was once structure, becomes obstinate rigidity.

During this season, take some time to observe your physical and mental well-being. If you’ve been feeling a little out of sorts or have simply put off taking care of yourself, don’t hesitate to come in for a consultation with one of our licensed acupuncturists to find out how Chinese medicine can help you regain and optimize your health!


Researchers in the Netherlands have found that apples and pears may help protect the lungs from chronic disease. According to Chinese medicine, pears specifically help moisten and strengthen the Lungs.

Flax Tea with Honey
This tea moisturizes the Lungs, expels phlegm and calms cough. Flax is also anti-inflammatory and a natural laxative.

1 Tbsp whole flax – ground in coffee grinder or mortar and pedestal
1 tsp honey

Pour 1 cup boiling water over flax seeds and allow to steep 10 minutes. Strain and add honey.

Miso with Turnips and Tremella Mushrooms
Turnips strengthen the Lungs while Tremella help preserve the natural moisture of the Lungs.

Sesame oil
Turnips diced
Tremella Mushrooms (can be bought online or Asian markets)
1 dallop of miso paste
Vegetable stock

Heat oil, add turnips, and cook until soft. Add turnip greens and mushrooms. Add miso and vegetable stock. Simmer until turnips and mushrooms are cooked through.

Interview with Acupuncturist and Massage Therapist Michelle Leno

What inspired you to be an acupuncturist?
Michelle grew up in Korea during the early years of her life. It was during this time that she became acquainted with Oriental medicine, as her parents took advantage of the traditional healing modalities offered. However, it wasn’t until her experience during 9.11 that she found her way to becoming a practitioner.

Michelle was living in New York City and working for a financial company during her mid-twenties. The day the towers fell, she, like most of those working in Manhattan, was sent home from work. Because all transportation had been stopped, Michelle made her way back to Brooklyn on foot. As she crossed the Manhattan Bridge with thousands of other people she realized then that life was too short to spend at a job that offered no fulfillment. Within days she decided that she wanted to go into a field where she could help people.

With her undergraduate degrees in fine art and psychology, she was enthralled by the elegance of Chinese medicine and how it relates to both the psychological and physical person.

Today Michelle is thrilled with her choice. She enjoys the challenge of helping people find ways to improve their health while maintaining their quality of life. She understands that life is a balance and each person requires weight in different areas.
How long have you been practicing?
Michelle graduated from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in Chicago in December of 2006 and ran her private practice in Chicago for 3 years before moving to Denver in June of this year.
Do you have a specialty?
Michelle specializes in pain management, women’s health issues, and problems with digestion.
She finds that acupuncture is very useful for conditions that western medicine offer no solutions for; specifically Irritable Bowel Syndrome, emotional disharmony, and problems with menstruation and hormone regulation.
Any hobbies or interests?
Michelle likes to read and cook. She prefers books that take place in the 17th and 18th century. When she reads, she wants the story to be free of cell phones and computers. One of her favorite stories is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas.
She and her finance cook a lot of vegetarian food. She enjoys finding recipes that are simple and clean. She uses a lot of fresh vegetables and herbs from the farmers markets and has a weakness for stinky cheeses.

What can a client expect on their first treatment?
With most initial clients, Michelle likes to have a detailed discussion about the primary health concern and past medical history. During this discussion you and Michelle will talk about everything from your digestion to subjective body temperature. Once you’ve covered all the important signs and symptoms, she’ll ask you to move onto the table so she can on palpate your abdomen, assess your pulse and examine your tongue to further help her in establishing a diagnosis and choosing the corresponding treatment.

The needle insertion should not be painful; however, you may experience some pressure or a heavy sensation at the points being treated. An average treatment includes about 14-30 needles, depending on the condition and once these are inserted, you’ll be allowed to rest and retain the needles for about 30 minutes.

What are other modalities that you may incorporate into a session?
As well as being a licensed acupuncturist, Michelle is also certified massage therapist. She incorporates Asian body work and massage into her treatments, especially those that focus on pain management.

Michelle also likes to use both cupping and gua sha in many of her treatments. Cupping is a method of treatment in which a partial vacuum is generated in a cup, which is then applied directly to the skin. The underlying tissue is drawn up into the cup – creating in a specific area to bring up “sha,” or what is considered to be “stagnation” in Chinese Medicine. Raising sha promotes circulation and improves the metabolic process. This is an effective modality useful for chronic and acute pain as well as helping to treat the common cold and mucous production.
Gua Sha is a healing technique that involves repeated and pressured scrapping over the skin with a smooth edged instrument. This modality of “friction-stroking” causes “sha” to surface in order to release stagnation. Like cupping, gua sha promotes the flow of energy, blood circulation, lymph fluids and assists in the removal of toxins from the body. After either gua sha or cupping treatment, patients often feel immediate relief.

To read more on Michelle click here.

Faces of Hunger – This Could be YOU!

When contemplating the concept of people going hungry, you may conjure up images of Third World countries, people living in shacks with dirt floors, and children that are far too thin. The reality is the folks who don’t have enough food are living in your neighborhood and look very similar to you and me. The only difference is many of them have had a number of challenging situations stack up in such a way that they are unable to provide for their family, much less themselves. It is not the end of the world if you have to care for a sick loved one, or your car breaks down, or you lose your job, or you fall ill, or suddenly become a single parent. These things happen, BUT if you are confronted with a constellation of difficulties simultaneously, your ability and resources to cope are diminished. With the state of the economy these unfortunate situations are becoming more and more common and are occurring much “closer to home”. Thanks to the help of non-profit organizations like Food Bank of the Rockies, people have a place to turn for food, when there is nothing in the cupboards. It doesn’t solve all of their life problems but it is one less thing to worry about. Peer into the Faces of Hunger below. Get a sense for who they are and what they are up against.


Vikki was visiting a food pantry for the first time when we sat down with her. She lost her job during the summer of 2009, discovered she had stage 3 cancer in November of that same year and has since taken on the responsibility of caring for her disabled father. During their year of hardships, her husband’s work hours began dwindling and insurance costs went up. Vikki hasn’t been able to get adequate medical coverage due to her “pre-existing” condition. Following five months of cancer treatment, her family was forced to file bankruptcy in July, 2010. They are days away from losing their home and remain two months behind on bills and mortgage payments. They cannot find a way to catch up. Her four year old son is her driving force and it’s because of him that they finally came to the conclusion they need help. The food pantry she visited will provide one less worry for Vikki and her family.


Christy and her husband took over the family painting company after her husband’s father passed away suddenly.  Once a lucrative business, the company fell on hard times with the troubled economy.  Christy, her husband, young daughter and mother-in-law are trying to keep up on bills, but are struggling to put food on the table.  They’re currently waiting for food stamps and are trading services for painting as a creative way to make ends meet.  Simply going out for painting bids is difficult with the price of gas.  They’re having a baby any day and worry about how they’re going to manage all that life is throwing at them.  Christy relies on a local food pantry to ease worries about feeding her family and is grateful for the help.  This family resides in the 7th wealthiest county in the nation.  Imagine that.


Rita’s fiancé passed away last June.  And she lost her job shortly after.  She and her four children have been trying to make ends meet ever since.  Rita lost her car and she couldn’t keep up with utilities, rent, gas…you get the drill.  She’s been on hold for receiving food stamps for months, so she comes to a local pantry for food and clothing for the kids.  And for a sense of family.  They try to make it without asking for help, but that’s been pretty tough lately.  But she smiles and laughs.  And she makes it work for the sake of her family.

For more stories like these, thanks to Food Bank of the Rockies, click here.

10 Years. 10 Charities features Food Bank of the Rockies!

It’s hard for most of us to imagine, but every day in our community, more than 300,000 people worry about where they will find their next meal. Hunger is very real and Food Bank of the Rockies is fighting to ensure no one goes without needed nutrition. 1 in 7 Colorado and 1 in 10 Wyoming citizens live with food insecurity and struggle to meet their basic food needs. Hunger is especially hard on children, who make up 42% of our clients and require proper nutrition to grow and learn. In today’s economy, the need for food assistance is increasing substantially. You can learn how to get food stamps in florida here, and start getting assistance for food.

Fighting Hunger Feeding Hope is the central distribution program of FBR, serving 1003 agencies that facilitate 1271 hunger-relief programs in the Denver Metro area, Northern Colorado, the Western Slope and Wyoming. These programs are the front line between health and happiness versus hunger and despair. Last year, FBR distributed 39.4 million pounds of food – enough for our agencies to provide 84,000 meals each day to hungry children, seniors, families and individuals.

FBR’s Nutrition Network
This network of programs addresses the specific problem of hunger which impacts people’s physical, mental, and social growth. Children are especially at risk. Even moderate nutritional vulnerability can hinder cognitive development and impair a child’s abilities for a lifetime. Many seniors in our community also struggle to pay for food. Our programs include Kids Café, After School Snacks for tutoring, Totes of Hope for Children/Seniors. Read more…

Denver’s Table Food Rescue Program
FBR’s Food Rescue Program – Denver’s Table, collects donations from dining establishments and retailers throughout the city. Our refrigerated trucks pick up surplus prepared foods from hotels, restaurants and caterers, as well as frozen and perishable foods, dairy products and assorted items from supermarkets. Last year, Denver’s Table safely delivered 1.4 million pounds of nutritious food to local hunger-relief programs serving people in need; food that otherwise would have been discarded.

FBR Mobile Pantry – launched in Fall 2010, bringing needed food to rural communities where pantry programs were unavailable. In Spring, 2011, FBR started an urban program, targeting families from low income schools and communities where additional assistance was greatly needed. In its inaugural year, the program distributed more than 400,000 pounds of food at 18 sites throughout Colorado.

Government-Subsidized Food Programs
Since October 2004, the states of Colorado and Wyoming have contracted with FBR to distribute government food subsidies to those in need several counties through two government programs: The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). This partnership has been extremely successful and has allowed FBR to provide needed hunger relief to thousands of new clients while increasing the nutritional value of these supplemental food programs.

For more information about Food Bank of the Rockies, their programs and how you can help please visit:


Want to contribute to this incredible organization?

Click here to donate!

Click here to volunteer!

Also read: How to get a 501c3?

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