Week in Review
Monday July 23, 2018
Monday morning started our week off with a bang. We hit the ground running at 9 a.m. in the computer lab where we brushed up on our new skills in the Microsoft Office suite. Computer lab is cool. The “work at your own pace” set up makes it different from any of the other classes we take. Some of us focused on typing up sample letters in Word, or formatting and checking an existing document for grammatical errors. The last Word assignment has over 100 steps and utilizes every aspect of Word. We are careful not to miss a step, or else the finished product will be incorrect. Some of us are working with Excel spreadsheets, and just as for Word lessons, we must be mindful of following the instructions step by step.
In the afternoon, we changed gears as we held our Toastmasters class. Each of us had a job to fill to make sure the meeting ran smoothly. This was the first meeting where Fall ’18 participants filled the Evaluator positions. Five guys gave great speeches, and five brothers evaluated their performance and gave constructive feedback while the rest of us kept time, counted “ahs” and “ums” or provided impromptu one-minute speeches. Working as a team, Toastmasters ran effectively, and each and every speaker met his predetermined objectives and times. Great job, guys. Be proud!
Christopher M. (a.k.a. “Cowardly Lion”)
Tuesday July 24, 2018
Today, many of us PEP brothers were in the computer lab. We truly get to experience what it is like to be in a professional office setting while we’re in there. We get to use up-to-date computers and software, which gives us an edge that will surely help us transition smoothly into what we will be using when we get out. We all love the atmosphere, and especially the comfortable office chairs!
I think we can all agree that the computer lab is an escape from all of our other activities, because for a short period while we’re in the lab, we feel like we are working in an office at a business somewhere and not here in prison. It is a treat for us and really fun to be able to brush up on our computer skills.
Many of us finished up our lessons in Microsoft Word today. Then, we started on Excel so that we can learn spreadsheets and the tools necessary to be timely and proficient while creating them. Shortly we will be up to speed with Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint programs. All and all, it was a great day for Fearless Fall ’18 at the Cleveland Unit’s Prison Entrepreneurship Program.
Kevin A. (a.k.a. “Sweet Yams”)
Wednesday July 25, 2018
Today turned out to be a truly great day. We came out of class with our hearts heavy, because there was a test today. A few of our classmates failed, but as usual Fall ’18 excelled. We want to raise the bar so that all future classes will have a goal to strive for.
Brian T. (a.k.a. “Cuella de Vil”) taught our class today. He opened our eyes to the reality of really owning a business. We have come to learn that owning a business requires much more than money and location. We learned about the significance of mission statements and finding a competitive advantage. The whole class learned a great deal. We all look forward to the day when we can open our own businesses and show the world all the things PEP has taught us.
Many of us entered this class with low expectations. We expected just another prison program. We were wrong. PEP takes time not only to make sure that we have the skills to open a business, but to make sure that we have the right morals and values, and a positive attitude as well. Furthermore, they not only want to help us get employed, but they also want to make us into better fathers, husbands, sons, uncles and businessmen. Fearless Fall ‘18 thanks PEP from the bottom of our hearts.
Tony N. (a.k.a. “Sweet Twizzler”)
Thursday July 26, 2018
Today is one of those days that we look forward to, when we get to pray-out those brothers who are going home. For anyone not familiar with this ritual, it’s our opportunity to give PEP brothers who will be re-entering society words of encouragement. This is the moment to recognize positive changes in their lives, values and beliefs; it’s also our time to reiterate how important those changes are and how valuable fresh starts are.
“Fresh Start” Outlook is one of the 10 Driving Values that PEP is founded on, and we as brothers challenge ourselves to live with a “Fresh Start Outlook every day. We are given the tools we need to succeed not just in our professional lives, but in our personal lives as well, so today I wish Aaron A. (a.k.a. “Pinocchio”), Patrick W. (a.k.a. “Patrick Star”), and Kenneth T. (a.k.a. “Cool Runnings”) good luck and best wishes. May God bless each one of you and guide you on your new journey back into society!
William M. (a.k.a. “Baby Buzzard”)
Friday July 27, 2018
The energy and enthusiasm in the PEP room was electric this morning! We learn so many good things every day in PEP. Today is American History day. We learned about the American Revolution and how our founding fathers understood that every human has God-given rights, and that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness should not be infringed upon. Freedom is what we all want and so desperately long for. I pray God will guide us in our decision making processes so that when we are free men, we will live our lives in such a way that would give honor to all those who have sacrificed their lives so that we can live free.
On a lighter note, Dr. Wagner spoke to us about the book club he oversees. Reading – an excellent way to spend our time – keeps the mind sharp and is a gateway to the soul. It’s been a busy week, and it is only getting busier with Toastmasters, Chapter Five in our Entrepreneurship class, the Leadership Statement assignment, elevator pitches and Living in the Village. It’s all about time management, my brothers.
Dale R. (a.k.a. “Sugar Breeches”)
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
As our lives are defined by each moment, we have to think about the actions that we take, day in and day out. The accumulation of these actions over time creates our habits. Creating habits is an essential part of life; however, we have to ensure that we are creating good and healthy habits. To do so, we must eliminate the negative ones by replacing them with positive ones. In the end, habits define our character, so what is your character like?
Compounded with living up to our potential, good habits will create excellence, which is an essential part of living a successful and rewarding life AND one of PEP’s 10 Driving Values. Are we living up to our potential? Humans are the only species on this planet with the ability not to live up to their full potential because of our free will. It is up to us to put forth the effort required to achieve our true capacity. If we want to drive a Mercedes Benz one day than our actions, habits and character have to show that. If we’re only doing just enough to get by, then more than likely we will be driving a car that is doing just enough to get us by. Think about that!
Timothy D. (a.k.a. “Ren”)