Born and raised in Queens, New York, Karen Harper came west at the urging of a friend. Looking down at the landscape of the Reno, Nevada desert from a hot air balloon, Karen loved it.
While in Reno, Karen was accepted in the Job Corps vocational program where she tried her hand at welding and culinary arts. Upon graduating, Karen started work with one of the local casinos and thought her cooking skills would take her places. Karen left the casino kitchen for institutional cooking in skilled nursing facilities where she found less pressure.
In this episode, Karen tells us she was introduced to 29 Palms by her sister, Carrie, who lived there running a cleaning business. Carrie would invite Karen to visit, but as Karen tells it, she would end up helping Carrie at her cleaning jobs instead of just 'visiting'. On one of those trips, Karen made a decision to move to 29 Palms. She applied for a job, bought a home- now she owns three of them.
Karen leaned on her culinary skills while attending school to become a teacher. By this time, Karen had a family and the 12 hour days in food service didn't provide enough time with her family. At one point, Karen also left the desert for Georgia and Virginia, eventually returning to 29 Palms.
After being approached numerous times by various women in difficult circumstances, Karen and her sister Carrie realized they needed to create an organization that would give these women a place to be heard and receive direction. Women of Color Global 29 is a non-profit, women’s empowerment organization, headquartered at Jeanine's Beauty business, Jeanine's Beauty , in 29 Palms. They were inspired to start the organization after being approached by women in their community who were looking for work, having trouble making ends meet or managing their children. The non-profit serves as a resource to build women’s confidence to get the help they need.
If you or someone you know (under the age of 23) are interested in the Job Corps program, google ‘Job Corps’ and the largest city near you. (ex: 'job corps southern California') to find a program near you. Or visit their website: jobcorps.gov, linked above.
Find: Women of Color Global 29
Karen and Carries business, Jeanine’s Beauty Supply is located at 6470 Adobe Road, 29 Palms.
They are open Monday-Friday 11-630, Saturday 10-530. The are closed on Sunday.