Former inmates serves up coffee and second chances
CLARMORE, Okla -- When the world was shouting “no” -- Rhonda Bear listened to the faint whisper of hope. “One day I had an idea to start a business. “ She said.
A coffee shop, serving second chances. It wouldn’t be easy. Bear battled drug addict and spent several years in prison. She said, “The worst thing about going to prison was facing what I did to my children. I broke their hearts. My little girl was 8 years old. She said you missed my kindergarten graduation, my birthdays, you missed Christmas. Mom, you weren’t around, so I can’t cry that you’re going away. The hard part of that was she was telling the truth.”
That was her rock bottom moment. Rhonda was determined to replace regret with redemption and not just for herself. According to former inmate Shaunte Gordon, “When I went to prison for the second time, I had encountered Jesus in the back of this patrol car. He filled my heart with peace. He gave me a sense of hope.”
Three days later, Gordon noticed Rhonda Bear. She had returned to Eddie Warrior Correctional Center as a mentor. Gordon said, “She told me, you’ll work in the coffee shop. You’ll live in transitional housing and I’ll surround you with a team of mentors. And that was like music to my ears.”
Rhonda’s church family raised $12,000 so she could move from a flea market to a Claremore store front. According to Bear, “I had people in the community who said don’t quit. We’ve caught your vision and let us help you.”
Today she owns 13 transitional houses, two coffee shops and there is serious talks of expanding “She Brews” to Oklahoma City. It’s an authentic and tangible ministry she does for children, Bear said, “They say there are 28,000 children in Oklahoma with an incarcerated parent. So, people think I do a lot of this to save women but I do what I do to save children. I want to help the 28,000 children in our state and give them back a mom.”
So far, Rhonda Bear has helped reunite 170 children with their moms like Dustie Sikes. She said, “This program made it possible for me to have a life being sober, have a life with my children and a home. She saved your life? Yes. Her and Jesus Christ.”
Today – these women have only positive expectations. “She Brews” is their little shop of hope.