Monday, April 1, 2019

We were supposed to have our Toastmasters International class today, but it was canceled. In its place, we were called to the computer lab for character assessments. It was really good to see how we correspond in our thoughts and opinions about one another. We have learned that no matter what background we come from and despite any issues we may be facing, we are all working towards the same goal.

PEP has shown us that love is a powerful force in life. God has shown us His love through His Son. Now we are able to love one another as well, no matter what we have done, no matter where we come from and no matter what skin color we may have. Our Toastmasters class has given us the ability to properly express ourselves in public, and Authentic Manhood has helped us to apply everything. This ability to love and show kindness is why we are known as the Conquerors of Spring ’19.

Back on the pods (dorms), we came together to study for our upcoming tests in Entrepreneurship and Living in the Village classes. We are also preparing for the Business Plan Workshop event this Friday. We truly feel very blessed to be here in PEP. We look forward to having a wonderful graduation and moving on to the next phase in our lives.

Robert S. (a.k.a. “John Coffee”)

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Today started off with our Fall ’19 brothers being called out to their Leadership Academy class. Those of us in Spring ’19 who remained on the pod prepared our questions for the upcoming Business Plan Workshop event on Friday. With each event that we attend, we become more and more excited. We cannot wait to interact with the executives and get feedback on the different ideas we have for our business plans.

Many of us are still talking about the character assessments that we completed yesterday. We can’t help but wonder what our brothers think about our character growth. We know that we are changing, but it is also good to find out what others think. We try each day to live out PEP’s 10 Driving Values, knowing that they will produce good character within us. We are focused; therefore we will endure!

Michael O. (a.k.a. “Mini Me”)

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Today, we were called out early to the PEP room. We had the privilege to sit in on what we refer to as pray-outs. This is a ceremony in which we say words of encouragement to our brothers who are going home. At the end, everyone gathered together to do one big prayer. We laid hands on the brothers going home and spoke blessings over them.

At 1 p.m., we returned to the PEP room for our Entrepreneurship class with Brian T. (a.k.a. “Cruella de Vil”). We usually go over chapters in our Entrepreneurship book in preparation for a test. However, since we have an event on Friday, we did something a little different. Brian T. wanted to make sure that we were well prepared for the event. We talked about what we wanted to ask the executives and what we hoped to gain from the encounter.

Jamual P. (a.k.a. “Small Shake”)

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Today, we continued to mentor and tutor the class of Fall ’19 as the men continued to study for their “Big Five” tests. It has been fun and exciting to assist the new classmates as they embark on the same journey that we started approximately six months ago. We try and ease their anxieties, answer their questions and offer advice, so that they can pass those things on to the class that follows them. This is a PEP tradition! We are merely passing the same torch to them that the class that we succeeded passed to us. It reminds us of the old adage: “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” That aspect of the program remains evident.

We continually study for our weekly Entrepreneurship and Living in the Village tests. We are also reading this awesome book entitled Deadly Viper. The book features a segment about the founder of the Prison Entrepreneur Program, Catherine R. Here we are, reading about a program in which we are involved. How cool is that?

We, the Conquerors of Spring ’19, are all anxious and excited about the event tomorrow. Our events are always a lot of fun. We have the opportunity to interact with the executives who come to offer advice and constructive criticism. It may seem cliché, but in an atmosphere that is surrounded by uniformity and structure, the opportunity to see people in civilian clothes, consisting of a wide spectrum of colors, gives us the feeling of being with our families.

We are one day closer to completing this stage of the program and graduating. Those of us who have made it this far are thoroughly committed to PEP’s 10 Driving Values and the desire to change. There is a sense of camaraderie amongst us as we walk beside one another. It is truly amazing for us to be a part of something this big!

Jake P. (a.k.a. “Chris Farley”)

Friday, April 5, 2019

Today was a very long, yet rewarding, day for the Conquerors of Spring ’19. We were called down to the PEP room, bright and early, for our Living in the Village class. We took a test on Chapters 11, 12 and 13.We were a little behind schedule, but we are quickly catching up.

An hour after class ended, we were called back to prepare for the Business Plan Workshop event. We are always called out way before an event begins so that we can loosen up and get ready for a day spent with the amazing executives who come to share their wonderful knowledge and wisdom with us.

The executives were so eager to listen to our ideas and give us valuable tips to improve our business plans. It’s truly amazing to have great people such as these give up their entire day and spend it with us. They genuinely care for us and want us to succeed, not only in PEP, but in life as well.

The Conquerors of Spring ’19 have weathered the storm and made it through all of the tests and trials that have been thrown in our path. We now have to go and claim our reward. Let’s keep up the hard work and stay dedicated; we are almost done with this leg of our journey.

Christopher S. (a.k.a. “Piggy Bank”)


It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper that is suitable for him.”

             ~ Genesis 2:18

We were created as relational creatures. We were made to fellowship with one another. Contrary to popular belief, it is not in our nature to be alone. It was never intended for us to pursue a state of solitary existence, yet these days we tread through a society where people live in fear of one another. Wicked living has flooded the streets, resulting in extreme trust issues. This is stripping us of any desire to relate personally to those around us, pushing us to hide within the anonymity of social media. This produces an ultimate state of detachment, in which individuals are masquerading behind this façade of social media. The concept of love and benevolence has all but completely vanished from our daily interactions.

We need to combat this social and spiritual deterioration by embracing one another and walking in love. We should be stripping ourselves of selfish ambitions and picking up the burdens of those around us. Imagine what we could accomplish if we put the phones down and, in its stead, engaged in conversation. Seek out human embrace, not social disgrace.

Dalton D. (a.k.a. “Sweet and Low”)