Monday, March 25, 2019

This morning, we had our Toastmasters International class. Before joining PEP, many of us never knew that public speaking was actually an international thing. We feel privileged to be a part of this organization.

Several of my classmates and I had a problem speaking in public or in front of huge crowds. It was tough, at first, when we learned that we would have to speak to a crowd every Monday. However, once we got started, we learned that we actually enjoyed speaking in front of people. This part of the program is not only about public speaking though; it’s also about timing, asking questions and evaluating other people who are speaking. Altogether, this creates habits that will enable us to become better speakers in the future.

Now we look forward to waking up early and going to class to learn something new. We cannot wait to speak in front of one another. Upon release, we look forward to teaching other people about public speaking using the Toastmasters International standard.

Anatoli Q. (a.k.a. “Pinky”)

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Today, those of us in Spring ’19 did not have any classes. Still, that does not mean that there was not plenty for us to do. We were offered the opportunity to practice our “Servant-Leader” qualities by helping the next class. It was truly a blessing to give back what the previous class gave to us; brotherhood and guidance.

Being able to witness these individuals in their pursuit to become men who reject passivity, accept responsibility, lead courageously and expect God’s greater reward was truly heartwarming. For us to be an integral part of their journey to become Authentic Men was truly the greater reward. We were reminded of our own journey, taking into account the growth that we’ve experienced, and were encouraged to finish the race that is set before us. Every day, we reflect on just how blessed we are to be a part of this program.

Johnathon R. (a.k.a. “Barack Obama”)

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

We all had a very good day today filled with inspiration. Being accepted into PEP and its Entrepreneurial class is forming us into new men. We are no longer by ourselves; we have brothers that understand our expressions of change. With this knowledge, we pick each other up when we are feeling down or lonely. We stick together, not only when it comes to discovering one another as individuals, but through all of our classes as well. Our business instructor, Mr. Brian T. (a.k.a. Cruella de Vil), elevates our minds and the way we think.

It is amazing to see how much our class has grown together. It truly fills our hearts with love. We are proud to recognize one another’s efforts, hard work and achievements. No matter what we are doing, there is always someone watching and waiting to give us praise when we set a good example for our fellow brothers. We do this in the form of Praise Reports.

Once our business lecture ended, we watched a motivational video. It inspired us all to keep pushing ourselves, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually. We all want to do better in life so that we can leave a positive legacy for our loved ones.

Jawaun M. (a.k.a. “Radio”)

Thursday, March 28, 2019

We had no classes today, but that does not mean that our day did not start early. The Pods were quiet and the atmosphere calm. It was the perfect setting for us to study in. We all agreed that this peace is something to appreciate, especially while incarcerated. Throughout the day, everyone interacted in harmony by engaging in positive conversations, studying and helping each other out.

The Management Training Corrections (MTC) facility is different from TDCJ, and it’s the perfect setting for PEP. Everyone involved, from the Warden to the inmates, makes this program possible and the success that it is. We, the aspiring entrepreneurs of Spring ’19, refer to this as “living between the wings.”

In the first phase of the program, we instilled PEP’s 10 Driving Values in our hearts and minds. The practice of these values unlocks the potential for peace. It is in moments like these that we realize how blessed we are to participate in this program. Each of us has set goals to achieve, yet we accomplish our objectives as a team. As iron sharpens iron, so one man shall sharpen the perception of his brother.

Pete P. (a.k.a. “Alfalfa”)

Friday, March 29, 2019

Our day began with our regularly scheduled Living in the Village class. Our fellow PEP brothers, Cornell L. and Lee T., taught on Chapters 11-13. As the lecture unfolded, we realized the importance of paying off student loan debt and were presented with cost saving strategies. We also discussed which questions to ask our business plan advisors.

After the lecture, we were informed about the event next Friday: our Business Plan Workshop event. We will be seated across from an executive and have a one-on-one question and answer session. This will enable us to further refine and perfect our business plans.

Once class was finished, we each went back to our Pods and began to study for next week’s test. It has been a long journey, but we are almost at the finish line.

Julian M. (a.k.a. “Big Baby”)


Those who have borne the greatest sorrows are frequently the ones who carry the greatest comfort to others, bringing sunshine wherever they go.”

~ Ellen G. White

The people who overcome the toughest obstacles are the ones who have the strongest testimony. When I am struggling to understand a tough situation that makes no sense and doesn’t seem to have a clear-cut answer, I don’t want to be consoled by someone who has never had to deal with a similar situation. I want a friend who’s been through the same mud and can say, “I know how that feels; I’ve been there. It was hard and there’s no easy fix, but I’m here with you and I do understand what you’re going through.”

Maybe the reason we must go through situations, ones that seem to have no rhyme or reason to them at the time, is so that God can use us to help someone else. When the troubles of life leave us blind and confused, and we cannot discern today from tomorrow, we need the help of someone who has already walked the same path before us. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity (Prov. 17:17).”

Jake P. (a.k.a. “Chris Farley”)