Week in Review
Monday October 15, 2018
Today Dr. Burriss came in to give us some useful strategies that will help us to become better men. We thank him for his precious time. Dr. Burriss shared values that can potentially help us physically and emotionally. A couple of my PEP brothers sought help from Dr. Burriss. Seeing the miracles that Dr. Burriss performs made me analyze certain situations differently. It is unusual to see some of these men break down or even talk about their situations in front of the whole class of Redeemed ’19.
Being the youngest in our class really shows me that there is more to life than just getting into trouble and being incarcerated. Being able to be one of the chosen few to be a part of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program gives me a different perspective on life. Living the fast life is fun until everything starts to run out and tragedies start to happen. Being in PEP is a blessing and it really gives us a second chance at life. Being a part of PEP is one thing, but being incarcerated and getting the opportunity is another. Knowing that we are here doing time and being able to learn how to be successful entrepreneurs in the near future is God’s true work. Having the stigma of being a convicted felon makes people view us differently. We have the potential to become successful entrepreneurs, ambitious and on a mission to redeem ourselves to be authentic individuals in our community and society.
Angel C. (a.k.a “Pinky Toe”)
Tuesday October 16, 2018
We started our day with a pray-in and then with the word of the day. The emcee went over issues that needed to be addresses before we took a test over Chapters 1 and 2 in our Living in the Village books. We learned the three ways to use money: spend, build and give. We also discussed how failing to watch what we spend is the primary reason we don’t accumulate wealth. That’s what PEP is all about – successful financial freedom. As the time went on, we watched a video on American History. Watching the video, it was astonishing how the country got started. Did you know that animal skin was considered a commodity during the time the United States was being established?
Toward the end of the day, we had more issues at hand, so out came the “Wheel of Doom,” a computer-generated wheel with different categories of funny things used for disciplinary reasons. For example, today a PEP brother disrupted count and another overslept and was late to class. We learned a lot about the business world today, and having fun is a part of the program. Here in PEP we seek to create a work environment that encourages laughter. Work is an important part of life, and it should be fun and rewarding. We received our homework assignments and discussed test scores, and then we ended the day celebrating positive results and recognizing those involved in the success of the day.
Marlon C. (a.k.a. “George Clinton”)
Wednesday October 17, 2018
As we walked into our PEP classroom, we headed toward the wall where our nametags hang and put them on before we sat in our assigned seats. As the class began, we all opened up with a moment of silence as one of us prayed us in. As soon as our prayer was over, we greeted our brothers around us for a few seconds and then continued class with music and clapping as our first facilitator danced through the center of the room toward the front of the class. As soon as our facilitator, Mr. Jared G. (a.k.a. Santa’s Little Helper) got to the front, we began with our chairs facing the wall and our folders or any other items we had put under our seats as we started taking the test that we have been studying for all week. The servant-leaders passed out clipboards with our tests facing down. We were given 25 minutes to complete the test. After the 25 minutes were over, we felt relieved … but just when we thought it was over, we got hit with another test which was to be completed in 25 minutes.
After that was over, we had a special guest come and lecture to us over Chapter 4 in our Entrepreneurship textbook. As soon as we welcomed him with music and clapping, Mr. Brian T. danced his way to the front of the room. We received our tests back with our grades on them. After we take our tests, we get them back while we go over the questions that we missed – we call that moment “Issues and Tissues.” I’m sure the saying speaks for itself. After resolving our “issues and tissues” and understanding what we needed to know and what to study for, Brian T. lectured and spoke some encouraging words to our entire class. We all prayed out to ended our class session on a positive note.
Raul C. (a.k.a. “Cowardly Lion”)
Thursday October 18, 2018
Today in PEP we wrapped up the long work week with some time in the computer lab. When we go to the computer lab, we are given assignments in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. These assignments give those of us who have had experience with Word, Excel and PowerPoint the opportunity to freshen up a little. It also allows those brothers who have never used the programs the opportunity to learn the programs as well. In PEP, one of our 10 Driving Values is servant-leader mentality. The computer lab enables all of us to experience and utilize this Driving Value, since the guys who know the programs are able to help those who don’t. I am truly grateful for this opportunity to still be able to use computers. It’s going to help all of us with our business plans and will allow us to make them as professional as we want.
We were also given the time needed to prepare for our Venture Capital Pitch (VCP) assignment, where we have to prepare a two-and-a-half to three minute pitch that we will present to the executives. We have been putting a lot of thought into our business plans and ideas as we prepare for this upcoming event. We are starting to see that all this hard work will pay off. Every day in PEP is another day that we get to practice our entrepreneurship skills and develop the businesses that we all have dreamed of having. Today was as good a day as I could have under these circumstances. We are truly thankful to be a part of the PEP Revolution.
Todd C. (a.k.a. “Iggy Azalea”)
The quote that has inspired some change in my life would be one that I came up with myself: “the turtle won the race.” I tell myself this when I feel like I’ve got too much to do, or at times when I feel like I’m not doing good enough because I’m not in first place. Slow and steady is the pace I have to go, and reminding myself of this also humbles me. It brings me back to earth when I start getting ahead of myself, because that’s usually when I crash out. Luke 14:11 says, “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” At times, when I feel overwhelmed with homework, I want to lock myself in my cell and get it all done in one sitting. But I know if I do this I will be frustrated and grumpy and be rude to people, or when someone from class needs help studying I will ignore him. If I take my time with my homework and do it one step at a time, I will have better moods and be nicer and more helpful to others.
There are times when I get upset because I want to be home right now and I don’t want to wait, but I remind myself that God is working in my life and in His time, not mine. This both humbles and comforts me because God is a God of love and kindness, and He is good. So I place my time and trust in Him, and I know things are going to be okay. Though most of us want to be the rabbit in this story called life, either because we feel left behind in last place or just feel the need to live up to what the rest of the world wants us to be, I choose to remember that “the turtle won the race.”
Rodolfo C. (a.k.a. “Selena”)