Monday, Nov. 25, 2019

Today was a lot of fun. We started our 10th speech for our Toastmaster class. We have worked so hard to get to this point of the course. The improvement can be seen in each individual. In the beginning, we were nervous and hardly able to stand in front of an audience. The classmates who were able to speak today put on a show. All of them spoke confidently and with such passion that it totally seemed like they were professional speakers. It amazes me that we have come this far. In the beginning of this project, most of us were thinking, why are they making us do this? The results are in and can be seen and heard.

A lot was said today, and many of the individuals speaking really opened up. Some speeches were hilarious, some were very emotional and still others were inspirational. The brotherhood that was taught to us in the beginning when we started PEP was in full effect today. It’s something that was not expected by many of us. Looking around the room as one of the brothers gave their speech was amazing. Everyone was attentive, respectful and most of all supporting our brothers.

Many of us were not able to speak today due to lack of time, but seeing all the love and support in that room today makes it a whole lot easier for those that still need to give our eight-to-ten minute speeches. Today’s lesson is that PEP not a program anymore – it’s a brotherhood made up of men with the same goals in life.

Eddy L. (a.k.a. “”)

Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019

Today we sat in the dayroom, anxiously waiting for them to call us out for computer lab. Sometimes sitting down at a computer in the lab can be a little bit stressful, especially for those of us who haven’t used one before. This morning as we walked in, you could see the smiles and hear quiet joking as the brothers confidently logged on and got to work.

As we embraced in the holiday spirit, you could see men from every background possible sitting together and getting along just fine. Different we may be, but united we are – united and on a mission to become the men and fathers we are meant to be.

Thanksgiving is this week already? We are all eager for that day to come. As for now, we are trying to work through our Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations and Microsoft Word, because we understand that we need these programs in today’s fast-paced world. One by one, the graphics team called us up to check out our brochures for our businesses that are in their final stages.

It’s church time, and the dedication in the brothers’ eyes is inspiring. We miss our families, especially during the holidays. This is real and we are going to get it right. With a silent prayer, we are thanking God for himself, this awesome program and solid men with a purpose as we tap away at our keyboards. Some are moving fast and some slow, but we are all moving forward together. Today we are thankful.

Jonathan L. (a.k.a. “Beverly Hills Chihuahua”)

Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019

Every Wednesday we take tests on the lesson we learned the previous week. We were taught all of the different legal foundations on which we can establish our future business ideas, such as sole proprietorship, partnerships and corporations. We had all week to study the advantages and disadvantages of each form, as well as the importance of contracts, copyrights, trademarks and the three different types of patents (and the length of protection they provide). Additionally, we were tested on out book assignment, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. This is a very challenging, college-level piece of literature!

After we took our tests, we were taught about Human Resources Management by an executive who is well versed and experienced in this area of business. We learned about Human Resources and what it actually consists of. We gained an understanding about the hiring process and how important this process is for our future businesses. Most importantly, we learned how to go about this entire process – everything from creating a job description to advertising to interviewing to testing and then making the job offer. Not only did we learn about hiring, we learned about the importance of retaining employees, which is a big priority. We learned how to do performance reviews and how to deal with employees who aren’t performing as they’re expected to. On the other hand, we learned the proper way to put someone on a probation period or even fire someone.

Next week, we will be tested on this. We have learned a lot pertaining to the ins and outs of entrepreneurship. We are all working on our 7 to 12 minute business pitches for the end-of-class Business Plan Competition.

Johnathan M. (a.k.a. “Princess Fiona”)

Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019

Thanksgiving is here! Today we were treated to a great meal and new movies. We all got up early to get a spot at the tables to watch the movies. Some of us decided to go to the rec yard and work out, because we know we are going to need an appetite to eat all the food we are going to get for lunch. Everyone was wishing each other a “Happy Thanksgiving,” and the holiday spirit could be felt in the air. As the day progressed, the football games were on and some of us gathered around to watch them while the rest of us watched the new movies that were being played.

Around noon, they called for us to go to lunch. As we entered the cafeteria, we could smell the turkey we were about to get, and it made our mouths water and our stomachs growl. As we got our trays and returned to the dorm, everyone found their seats and proceeded to dig into this great meal. Stuff like this only comes around once a year, so we have to enjoy it and savor every bite.

As the day continued, we were watching Hobbs and Shaw on one side and the Dallas Cowboys play against the Buffalo Bills on the other side. All of us enjoyed ourselves, and this day turned into a memorable one. Even though we are in the predicament we’re in, we still managed to make the most of it and keep ourselves surrounded with this brotherhood we are a part of.

Duane M. (a.k.a. “Baby D”)


“The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.”

In Aramaic, this is translated “Malkoota d’shmeya.” The word “malkoota” means royal kingdom, an exalted state, a transpersonal state; “d’shmeya” means heavenly. Interesting to find the word heavenly. D’shmeya contains the root word SHM, which means the universal name of everything; light sound, atmosphere, vibration. (Matthew 13:31) The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed. SHM flows through the cosmos and all living things. Malkoota d’shmeya is therefore, man’s natural element. But in the same way that fish find themselves in their natural element without being aware of it, modern man lives today without being aware of the basic divine principles that are the perquisites for his existence. It is only after a fisherman has caught a fish on his hook and pulls it out of the water that the fish wakes up to a new reality. It is the same with the person who finds himself caught on an angel’s hook. He/she also “wakes up” after such an experience to the acknowledgment of a new reality, even though the angel usually throws the catch back to where it came from because it turns out to be a toddler.

One can however presume that the person, unlike the fish, is in a position to reflect on the experience and use it positively to transform his/her view of life and how he/she lives it. SHM brings the whole universe alive, for reality is constructed by SHM, which provides the cosmos with an endless network of light, sound and consciousness. SHM is a divine type of energy that reveals itself in varying speeds and frequencies. The slowest and toughest constitute the so-called “visible forms” of the material world. Negative thought patterns impede, limit and, in the worst cases, lead to sickness, while positive thought patterns create the stuff by which mankind develops and cleanses itself of the results of negative thinking and is thereby made conscious.

Javier M. (a.k.a. “Chaca”)