Monday, January 16, 2017

Today was Spring 2017’s first day of Toastmasters. Toastmasters is a club that was created in the 1920s to help individuals with public speaking. It is one of many things that will assist us on our entrepreneurial journey.

To become a successful businessman (or businesswoman) you have to be comfortable speaking in front of a crowd. As we watched several of our brothers speak in front of the class today, they demonstrated the impact that Toastmasters can have on our personal and social development.

Toastmasters not only helps us with public speaking, but it also gives us a chance to build relationships with our brothers. Life is all about having a positive impact on one another and maintaining healthy relationships. When people hear the term “Prison Entrepreneurship Program” they automatically think business. The class of Spring 2017 is here to tell you that it’s a whole lot more than that. With Men’s Life, Leadership Academy, and now Toastmasters, we have learned a lot about being authentic men. And we owe it all to the PEP Revolution.

Darrell M.
a.k.a. Peter Pan

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

This journey in PEP has been amazing. The few accomplishments we have made so far as a class at this point represent a major step forward in reaching our desired goal in June. As we begin to press in so that we may excel in our tests,let our eyes remain focused on the destination instead of the storms. The levels of discipline and accountability have been raised, an indication of our progress.

As difficult as it has been for many of us, it’s nothing that the class of Spring ‘17 isn’t ready for. It is said struggles can define who you are, and together as a class we will progress through these valleys together, allowing the fire to reinforce our strength rather than destroy us. It’s not how difficult something is, but how determined we are to get through it.

So we stand firm as a class and accept any challenge that we may face, because failure to us is not an option. We all aim in one direction toward different purposes. Each purpose has a divine meaning behind it. PEP holds its most chosen, but also God’s most talented.

Andrew M.
a.k.a. Kung Fu Brother

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Spring ‘17 guys along with the rest of the population here at the Cleveland Unit spent today parked in their cells. Today was day three of the first of two annual lock-downs. This could not have happened at a more opportune time.

Spring ’17 caught a huge break, as we were to be tested on the first three chapters of the Entrepreneurship book. The extra time to study is a great blessing. I know we will all achieve high marks.

In addition to studying for our upcoming test, we are enjoying the opportunity to finish a myriad of assignments, including creating a logo, putting together our brochures and deciding on a name and jingle for our businesses. We are also putting together our Venture Capital Pitches. We can’t wait to stretch our legs and get back to work, but until then, we continue to prepare.

Michael M.
a.k.a. M&M

Thursday, January 19, 2017

On January 17, 2017 around noon we went on lockdown. While everyone dreads the lockdowns, we understand that the time gives us the opportunity to reflect, as well as to catch up on some reading, writing and studying.

Every brother in Spring ‘17 should have used this lockdown as the opportunity to catch up on some needed studying. The burdens of homework and tests all have been weighing down upon our backs, sapping our energy and time. The lockdown was the perfect opportunity to relieve the weight of that burden.

A lot of times we focus on the storms of life, not realizing that blessings come in all forms. All time is precious and should not be wasted. Most of my brothers and I utilized our time during lockdown perfecting our goals, visualizing our dreams and planning for our new future. One thing that we have learned throughout class is that it is impossible to execute a plan without first visualizing that plan. There are going to be obstacles and challenges in our journey – that’s called life. However, one has to utilize his time building that moral and spiritual fortitude to withstand what might come. I also want to shout out to all of my brothers who continue to serve as positive role models to me. Thank you to my brothers who volunteered to help with coursework, pitches, character development and a plethora of other things that we go through in here. The positivity of this PEP culture is outstanding.

Marcus A.
a.k.a. Sweating Bullets

Friday, January 20, 2017

It was mid-afternoon when the call came in. The televisions went off and a young lady came over the loud speaker instructing everyone to return to their cells. Supposedly there was a so-called fire drill about to take place. Everyone just looked at each other and let out a slight laugh. We knew what was really taking place.

When we look at things objectively we realize that we are on constant lockdown; every day that we are away from our family and loved ones, we are on lockdown. Being in this confined space gives us the opportunity to utilize our time and our minds to their fullest potential.

We have played hard, but we have studied even harder. We might have slept some but I’m quite sure that we have read a ton. We have learned to sacrifice some of the things we enjoy in order to keep our focus on the end result. It is through the love of yourself, being patient with others, understanding situations and the knowledge of the fact that we play a vital role in our own destiny.

Jeremi R.
a.k.a. Left Eye


“Patience is difficult, but what’s worse is wasting the results of your patience.”
Abu Bakr

Blessings come in many forms, and often times they come in the form of storms, trials and tribulations. One should not focus on the things lost in the fire, but instead focus his energy on the things gained by it: the newfound focus, discipline, piety, humility, wisdom and courage. Being patient is not lying in wait – that’s being dormant and stagnated. Being patient is continuing to strive even in adversity, continuing to dream, even when facing a nightmare; being patient is preparing for the opportunity that sustains our hope. Being patient is difficult, but it is necessary in order to grow. But what is even harder than being patient is maintaining the same drive, focus and determination after the storm has calmed. How many promises did you make to God while in the eye of the storm? How many times did you tell your wife, children, family that you were going to be a better man? We must all be worthy of our sufferings. To suffer in vain is to waste the results of your patience.

Jaa’far A.
a.k.a. Jolly Rancher