Week in Review

Monday, February 03, 2020

First and foremost, today we were all admitted to the PEP classroom for Toastmasters International. Toastmasters International develops individual public speaking skills. This class is not a college, trade school or other formal course in speaking. You will find no instructors or professors. Also, no one’s work is graded and no tests are administered.

In Toastmasters, members learn by studying the manuals and practicing whenever we have the spare time. Learning takes place in the club environment. Club meetings are working workshops where we study and practice communication and leadership skills with others. We “learn by doing” and by watching our fellow club members. This course has brought so many of us out of our shells. We have become more communicative and closer as a PEP family as a result.    

Matthew L. (a.k.a. “Popeye”)

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Living in a PEP dorm is good because we are like-minded and have the same goals and values. There are several tests every week that we have to be constantly ready for. Today we studied together and uplifted each other so that we may do our best when test time comes around.

Those of us who didn’t have computer lab today had the day off. We took advantage of it by spending some time studying. There are many ways to learn, and in my group we prefer to read and write the material we are trying to learn five times. We also held our pod meeting, during which we prayed-in and introduced ourselves to the new guys and answered questions and gave them advice.

Donde L. (a.k.a. “Stitch”)

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

This morning, my fellow brothers of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program congregated in what is considered “freedom” for a while: the dayroom. The atmosphere was lively as we conversed with other future entrepreneurs. While drinking our first morning cup of coffee, we encouraged one another as we looked forward to the day ahead of us. After all the greetings, we focused on the challenges of the day that were presented to us.

Class today was vastly educational as we gained business knowledge in which we have minimal experience. We concluded that we had reached the maximum capacity in the development of our understanding for the day’s topic. Our greatest gratitude goes to those who enhanced our understanding in entrepreneurship today.

Tommy L. (a.k.a. “Carlos Mencia”)

Thursday, February 06, 2020

Today in PEP at the Oliver J. Bell facility, we received yesterday’s test scores. We have agreed as a class that we are not where we want to be when it comes to GPA and our test scores. We came together and decided that we are going to strive for excellence in everything we do. We are working hard to make sure that we are more prepared for the next set of tests.

We also went to the beloved computer lab, where I feel the closest to coming home. The whole class has already learned Microsoft Word, and we are currently completing the lessons for Microsoft Excel. These skills will contribute to our success greatly when we begin reintegrating back into a working society. I look forward to applying these abilities when executing my business plan.

The information we have acquired here at this time in our lives is priceless. I continue to learn with every task I complete. It has been a growing process, and today is just a small glimpse at the path of hard work, the destination of our success.

Michael M. (a.k.a. “Jackie Chan”)

Friday, February 07, 2020

Today we had a guest speaker from the PEP’s Houston headquarters. We learned a lot about re-entry and all of the problems that will arise as we leave prison and enter the community. With all of the things that we learned in class and all the resources available, I know that we will be successful in our transition.

We also watched an educational video about George Washington and the American Revolution. It’s very interesting to learn about American History. We also learned a lot about personal finance in a class called Living in The Village. I really enjoy this class because it teaches us how to be wise stewards and apply our funds properly to help us get the most out of life.

Anderson M. (a.k.a. “Flipper”)


“Young love is when you love someone because of what they do right. Mature love is when you love someone in spite of what they do wrong.”

~ Mark Goulston

Some would describe love as a deep, emotional affection toward someone. Some would say it’s a strong preference, enthusiasm or liking: to love music or a love of books. Some would say it’s much deeper than that, kind of like the sacrificial love the Apostle John talked about in John 3:16. I don’t know about you, but I find that type of love to be profound. To love somebody so much that you give your only son for the other person’s life is mind blowing.

Too often a man’s “Let me love you” means “Let me please me,” giving a form of love only when it’s physically, financially or emotionally beneficial to him. I truly believe that only when we are willing to bear stripes for someone else will we then start to understand the meaning of love. Just as the Apostle Peter wrote about in 1 Peter 2:24. We must sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice to obtain this unconditional, pure, all-conquering kind of love that propels individuals to great heights. I encourage us all to give our loved ones sacrificial love this Valentine’s Day and every day that follows.  

Joseph M. (a.k.a. “Michael Blackson”)