CLAREMORE, Okla. (KTUL) — "I don’t know how to utilize the publicity to help my program," said Rhonda Bear, who has found herself in an unusual situation.
"Rhonda, thank you for being here today," said Governor Kevin Stitt during his inauguration.
She was recognized by the governor in his inauguration speech for her work with incarcerated women at her coffee shop, She Brews Coffee House.
"Rhonda runs a ministry in Claremore where she provides opportunity for women re-entering society after prison and drug addiction," he said.
She's suddenly been thrust into the spotlight.
"I’m still smiling ear-to-ear because it was so exciting," she said.
Even more exciting are the stats on the chalkboard which show how many lives her program has helped -- 30 women in housing and 166 children in total reunited with their mothers.
"That’s what I want to do. I want to save children, and if I can save a mom, I can save a child," she said.
"I was arrested here in Oklahoma for drug trafficking, and I was given a 15-year sentence," said Sophia Carbajal, one of those moms Rhonda wanted to help; she used to have something else attached to her name before the title of general manager.
"I’m not just number -- DOC number 655844 -- I have earned respect in this community. Something that I lost throughout my addiction," she said.
All of which Rhonda can identify with personally.
"I was previously incarcerated and was a drug addict, and it took the life out of my children," she said.
It was in prison where she turned her life around, and a symbol of faith is proudly displayed on the front counter.
"I believe that God has helped me," she said.
Her achievements are now being recognized on a statewide level.
"Rhonda’s ministry and many like it across our state are a vital component to helping Oklahoma tackle our number one rank in incarceration," said Governor Stitt.
"I’m trying to be a solution in our state, because I used to be a problem," she said.
Her problem now is figuring out how to move more coffee.
"If someone could just come in and teach me a little bit about how do I sell this, how do I market," she said.
Hhhmm, if only she was talking to someone with TV experience...
"Hey coffee drinkers, are you looking for out of this world flavor? Welcome to She Brews! Roasted here, brewed here! But wait, there’s more! Our coffee shop helps formerly incarcerated women get their lives back on track and helps reunite families. It’s coffee with a cause!"
For more information about She Brews, visit their Facebook page here.