Monday, April 8, 2019

Today is a new day with new possibilities. Another week has begun and we are ready for it. This morning, we were expecting to have our Toastmasters International class, but that wasn’t the case. When we entered the PEP room, we found out that we would receive the results of our character assessments.

We weren’t really sure what to expect and, at the same time, we were ready to find out how others perceive us. We wanted to see if there was an area of our lives that we needed to work on. It is easy to say that we are good in all aspects, but we all have blind spots, areas that our brothers are better able to perceive.

We are called to live by PEP’s 10 Driving Values. There is something so amazing about this standard of values! It makes us different and helps us to develop a new and authentic manhood from the inside out. It has not been an easy process, but nothing good ever comes easy.

Everything in life has its price, and each will be rewarded according to his deeds. We, the Conquerors of Spring ’19, are almost there! We will continue to push forward and finish with our heads held high. Graduation is close at hand!

Salvador M. (a.k.a. “Pedro”)

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

For many of us, today was Computer Lab. Computer Lab is divided into two classes: morning and afternoon. The Fall ’19 class is also split into morning and afternoon classes. The morning Spring ’19 and Fall ’19 participants were up and headed out the door as soon as the announcement was made over the intercom. The men who were scheduled for the afternoon classes were sitting at the dayroom tables, coffee in hand, preparing and refining their business plans. This is necessary after receiving critical information from the executives who came and shared with us at our Business Plan Workshop event.

Many of us have made some major changes to our business plans. We have received advice as to what areas we should focus on when it comes to advertising our businesses. Others are focusing on financials, such as Cost of Goods Sold. At the same time, we are adjusting the information on our insurance premiums, which will be necessary in order to start our businesses. As this program moves forward, our business ideas are becoming more and more vivid. Before coming to prison, many of us were unorganized and struggled to make sense of things. Now we can’t wait to be released and put our plans into action.

The most exhilarating part of this program is the way in which we are being taught to unlock the entrepreneur within each of us. We are not being promised a handout in the future. We are being equipped to give ourselves a hand up! We also understand the importance of giving back to our communities. This is a new perspective for many of us, but one that the whole class is embracing. Our interactions with the executives prove to us that there are an abundance of people who are willing to give us a second chance. In our opinion, it is the executives who make this experience priceless.

Timothy M. (a.k.a. “Ricky Bobby”)

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

We, the Spring ’19 class of PEP, have done very well today. We had fun and learned much about the importance of selling a business. We discovered that a person who doesn’t plan on selling a business still needs to develop a plan to do so, just in case. This is known as an exit or harvest plan.

Our teacher, Brian T. (a.k.a. “Cruella de Vil”), engaged the class by explaining the ins, outs and whys of a harvest plan. We answered several questions that revealed the true meaning of this concept in our Entrepreneurship textbooks as it would apply to our individual businesses. Brian T. is a mentor to all of us and has proven his worth many times over.

A student body is like an organism, composed of many individual cells that make their own impact on the whole. The teacher, or brain of the organism, needs to be healthy if the class has any hope of doing well. We, the students, represent the rest of the organism, which needs to work harmoniously with the teacher in order to be truly successful. We, as a team or organism, have braved many challenges together and we have conquered them. We have earned the right to call ourselves the Conquerors of Spring ’19!

Guy P. (a.k.a. “Sling Blade”)

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Today was a very good day! We had no class today, but many of us were up with the sunrise. Some people started their morning by working out while others grabbed a cup of coffee and formed study groups.

We are supposed to have a Fun Day for all PEP members tomorrow, but we are still expecting to have our Living in the Village test first. Whatever happens, it is best to be prepared. We are getting close to the end of this program, but there is still a lot to do.

In the afternoon, we had Toastmasters on the Pod. We came together to give speeches in front of one another. We then gave positive feedback in the form of evaluations. We are becoming much better speakers than we were at the beginning of the program.

Philip S. (a.k.a. “Smokey”)

Friday, April 12, 2019

We were given this beautiful and blessed day off from class for a fun-filled day of enjoyment and bonding. We began our Fun Day around 8 a.m., with a gathering of all of the PEP brothers, circled up for prayer. We gave praise to our Heavenly Father for our many blessings, such as giving us each other and taking care of our families while we are away.

After our prayer, we proceeded outside and started the activities off with a game of Dodge Frisbee. After many fun battles, a victor could not be decided, so we continued on with a water balloon toss. This quickly turned into an all-out water balloon battle, resulting in many laughs and even more wet brothers. We became the ultimate victors as we combined forces and drenched our fearless leader, Greg P. (a.k.a. “Flower”), with many water balloons, laughter and love.

The fun didn’t end there. After all of the scheduled activities were complete, people broke up into smaller groups to play volleyball, softball, horseshoes and toss the Frisbees around. All too quickly, though, the day had to come to an end. We thank our Heavenly Father for blessing us with such great brothers and fun-filled days such as these. We were reminded that LOVE stands for Life’s Only Victorious Enjoyment!

Johnny R. (a.k.a. “Leprechaun”)  


“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

                                                                       ~ Socrates

When taking a look at self, most people in society today tend to just scratch the surface. What society needs is a heart check! We need to delve beneath the surface to the center of our innermost being. Why? Because the truth of the matter is that it is sorely needed in this world today. Have you ever wondered why everybody just settles for normalcy and mediocrity? That’s the only vision that most people have!

We need to stop fooling ourselves and call it what it is: the mediocrity of life. What does it take to want more? What must we do to have a name that’s not just “Joe Schmoe,” but rather who we are and what we do – a name that actually means something … a name that has credibility and is worthy of more than just what the world has deemed as standard. Or are we to be reduced to a hapless saying on a bumper sticker?

Get deep! Get down to the root of your heart and boldly act upon it. Do something, and don’t let anything stop you. Never settle for anything less than what is genuine. Sacrifice mediocrity for something that’s unknown, but so much greater than superficiality. When you “get deep,” if you think that you have arrived at your destination, you will discover that you have merely taken the first step. 

Nicholas T. (a.k.a. “Clark Kent”)