Monday, July 29, 2019

We had our Toastmasters International class today. PEP provides this class to educate us in the techniques and practices of public speaking. We finished our second of ten speeches that focused on the organization and structure of a speech.

When we first started the class, many of us were overcome with nerves and a lack of confidence. However, with the completion of this most recent speech, the class of Fall 2019 has proven, once again, that we are capable of great things. With each day that passes, we are overcoming the obstacles of our past and are one day closer to accomplishing our dreams.

Every person in this program who is willing to put forth the effort to excel will gain much more than they had initially thought possible. We are constantly being told, “You get out what you put in,” and that is certainly the truth. Still, it is a team effort, and we are very thankful to everyone who supports us. May the Lord continue to bless us as we finish this stage of our journey.

Martin S. (a.k.a. “Rocky the Squirrel”)

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

For many of us, today meant attending our computer lab class. However, this computer lab was a bit different. There was a consistent stir of raised hands and questions. We were entering the financials for our business plans into the computer, and quite a few of us were confused. However, once we became accustomed to what was expected, we conquered it just like every other hurdle that we have encountered.

Also this morning, there was a buzz in the dorms as the new Spring ’20 men found out that they were to be called out for a “meet and greet.” We are still seeing more and more brothers coming in every day, and the anticipation of starting class can be felt in the air. It’s almost as if they are restless!

The morale of the class is very high. We did really well on the Economics of One Unit (EOUs) last week. They weren’t easy, but we did it! We are just three months from the finish line. This is when things will start to get really difficult. Therefore, we need to keep up the drive and motivation. We have come too far to give up now! We are more than a class – we are a brotherhood.

Perry T. (a.k.a. “Next Door Nikki”)

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

As we woke up this morning, we grabbed our coffee and entered the dayroom with our Entrepreneurship books in hand to study for the test we would take in the afternoon. We studied until we were called to pray-out our brother, Paul A. (a.k.a “Life Alert”), as he is about to go home. Each of us eagerly await our own day. When the pray-out was finished, some of us went to the computer lab.

As we prepared to work on our regularly scheduled assignments, we were told that we will be entering our master finances into the computer. These are pro forma projections of what we believe it will take to get our businesses started, as well as a revenue forecast for our first year of operation. We are all looking forward to our completed business plan, as it is no longer just a thought; it has become a vision. Some of us even had time to do some market research, which is always helpful.

After lunch, we fit in a few more minutes of studying before our test on Chapter Six. When the call-out came for our Entrepreneurship class, we made our way to the PEP room and quickly found our seats. We welcomed Anthony B. (a.k.a. “Boomhauer”) to the front of the room, who gave us a presentation on making resumes.

Once the presentation was over, we got to welcome back Brian T. (a.k.a. “Super Side Track”). He was gone for two weeks, recovering from back surgery. We all breathed a huge sigh of relief after we were told that there would be no test. Brian T. then gave a wonderful lecture on analyzing cash flow. We learned a lot and are ready for what comes next.

William J. (a.k.a. “Caveman”)

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Today was a good day! Even though we did not have class, we spent time in the dorm informing the men of Spring ’20 about what they can expect from PEP. It is truly inspiring to see the enthusiasm from fellow Fall ’19 brothers. They have stepped up to the plate and shown a willingness to serve the newly arriving class.

This week was very challenging for us, but with every challenge there is a reward. Our reward is knowing that we gave it our all and crossed the finish line victoriously! As a whole, we are growing into the men that we were created to be.

As our graduation date of October 25th gets closer, we reflect back to when our journey first began. We didn’t know what to expect. The second (business) phase of the program really taught us a lot about prioritizing. The assignments came one after another, each with its own deadline. It caused us to realize that this is how life really works!

PEP not only helps us to discover that entrepreneur inside ourselves, but it also teaches us to dig deep and find that authentic man of God within. For many of us, none of this would even be possible without a strong prayer life and a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Nathaniel B. (a.k.a. “Marvin Sapp”)

Friday, August 2, 2019

We had our Living in the Village class early because the PEP staff was on its way to the Estes Unit, where they will be celebrating the graduation of our PEP brothers on that unit. We are reminded of all the excitement we have to look forward to at our own graduation in October.

We took our weekly test for Living in the Village. We all did well, and as a result, not much homework was issued. After the tests were handed in, we reviewed Chapters 11, 12 and 13. These chapters covered the importance of paying off student loans. We also discussed cost saving strategies, buying versus leasing and IRA investments. This information will be very useful as we plan for our future.

Our class ended much as it began: with encouraging words and prayer.

Joseph L. (a.k.a. “Salt and Pepper”)


“The last chapter has not been written yet!”


So many people have written us off as if the end of the story has already been written. We may have given most of them a reason to feel that way, but we still have a chance to write the last chapter ourselves!

Trice F. (a.k.a. “Lionel Richie”)

Conquerors of Spring ‘19 Graduate