Josepha “Jossy” Eyre, MSW ’86

As a child during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, Josepha “Jossy” Eyre (MSW ’86) faced starvation, terror and the unspeakable trauma of losing siblings during the bombardment – all veiled in secrecy by adults too afraid to speak openly. The experiences left Eyre with a profound sense of hopelessness, something she recognized among the homeless women she encountered years later as a volunteer at Denver’s The Gathering Place. How, Eyre wondered, could she help these women achieve independence and empowerment? The answer came in the unexpected form of beans. The Women’s Bean Project, a soup-kit assembly nonprofit that Eyre founded in 1989, then expanded to include other services, helps women develop job skills, good work habits and even inner peace through daily meditative readings. The highly successful project has been replicated in cities nationwide.