Estes Summer 2024 Weekly Journals

Week 11

Monday                                                                                             June 3, 2024

Today was a very productive day for us in our dorms. We got together as a team to practice our pitches and get them as perfect as possible. Although most of our pitches are embedded in our minds, it is good for us to continue to practice them so that we can not only deliver them flawlessly but also with confidence. We all have added personality to our pitches, which helps take them to the next level. This type of practice has helped a lot of us open up and be more comfortable with our public speaking. We have come a long way since the first time that we pitched, or even just spoke in front of a lot of people. So many of us could not even get a full sentence out without either choking up or freezing up. Now many of us are pure naturals; well, maybe not “pure,” but we are well on our way to becoming true, calm motivational speakers.

We also got together to pray for our leaders Adam W. and Gerald D. because they were feeling a little under the weather and could not make it this morning. We are all truly appreciative of those two guys and for all of the love and energy they show that makes our brotherhood very strong. They have brought us together and formed a strong bond and instilled developmental skills that will stay with us forever. Speaking for many of us, we are very thankful for every jewel that PEP and our leaders instill in us. Without the passion they exude into our brotherhood, we would be missing a very valuable piece. We are honored.

Antonio S. (aka “Obama”)


Tuesday                                                                                            June 4, 2024

Today was a pretty good day, but for some reason we were called out to class and then told to come back to the dorms because of a special count that was called on the unit. Once we were back in the pod, we used the opportunity to form study groups and go over chapters in the entrepreneurship textbook we’ll be tested on soon. This is a great part of the program, in that we are able to continue to learn and grow outside of the classroom because we have a group of dedicated guys who believe in the curriculum and the benefits that come with PEP. Once we studied for a while, we switched gears to focus on our 10 Driving Values that are critical to the program. We should be testing on these as well sometime in the near future, so we all thought it would be good to brush up on the definitions.

After all of the studying, everyone started to shower or workout or do whatever needed to get done. We all put a lot into this, and we want to be the best we can be. It is really a blessing to be here, and all of us are part of a great brotherhood. We work together and grow together in so many ways; it is truly amazing to see. We’ve built a great culture of successful people here, and we are all proud to be a part of this program. Our Servant-Leaders, Peer Educators, and In-Prison Management along with all of the executive volunteers are amazing people, and we are grateful for all of the effort they put into us. Now back to work we go as another good day passes here in PEP!

  DeAndre T. (aka “T-Lame”)



Wednesday                                                                                      June 5, 2024

Today we started off with a great prayer. It’s always best to give thanks to the highest and his glory. Then we went into Toastmasters, and that my friends is a great way to get better at public speaking. We are all getting way better at it compared to the first speech we gave. It was interesting today because we learned a little bit about everything from oil fracking to fishing (and what fish not to catch) before going on to hunting as well. It is pretty cool to hear some people’s life stories and how they got to this point in their lives. People are truly passionate when they get up to speak. A lot of things people go through are both unbelievable and amazing to hear.

After Toastmasters, we took a lunch break and got refueled. We came back and went into an event we call Clubhouse. It is very cool that we can meet executives from different backgrounds and organizations and sit down and discuss different subjects. This helps us to build trust with these executives and possibly network with them in the future. One executive told me he used to be a manager of a major company. He had to get everyone on the board of directors to trust him, and it was something like what we do in Clubhouse that got them there.

I really look forward to the future because I am equipped to do the things I have always wanted to do. I have confidence in myself and want to make an impact on my children’s lives in a positive manner. Thank you all and God bless you.

James T. (aka “Cinnamon Roll”)


Thursday                                                                                         June 6, 2024

Today was a very important day for our class. We started the day by talking about graduation and practicing the order we are going to be walking into the ceremony. We even practiced how we are going to be walking up and receiving our diplomas. Adam W. was talking to us about past graduations and how it is going to be very amazing, and how we are going to be able to spend time with our families. He even said that our families will be able to make signs for us, so when we walk in they will hold them up and scream for us so we know where they are at. It will definitely be a great day and an awesome sight to see.

We all have worked hard, and to receive a diploma from Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business is really special. And we get to share that moment with our families, which is going to be the highlight of our lives (at least to some of us). We then discussed what food we are going to be eating and all that because here in prison, the food isn’t all that great.

We continued to practice our pitches and then prayed out and gave thanks to God for allowing us to be a part of this program. We all went back to the dorm and studied and worked out and got ready for whatever we had to do next. I would like to thank all of PEP for everything they do for us, and a special thanks goes out to Adam W. and Gerald D. for being here for us every day throughout our journey.

Weldon V.  (aka “Uncle Elroy”)


Friday                                                                                               June 7, 2024

Many blessings and positive change from here in PEP. Today we started with a devotional service by our In-Prison Manager, Adam W., who blesses any and all participants on a regular basis with his heart-felt testimony. It is a voluntary service where he shares his insight and love of the word of God. He is definitely dedicated to the program and it shows.

After the service, we went back to the dorm and cleaned up the place a bit. Then we all went to lunch before holding a study group about True North, a book we are reading about leadership and identifying your leadership style, with an in-depth focus on looking at your true self. It is good to look over one’s self and reflect on what you truly see, good or bad. An honest picture of yourself is the start of self-awareness, where you can begin to see what you can correct or change. Then we started to do some studying and getting down the 10 Driving Values because we will be tested on them. We are lucky to have the Servant-Leaders to help us because they have been through what we have been through. They take the time to help mentor us and teach us what they have to offer.

After we went to eat dinner, we came back and held a pitch panel where we ran through our business plans in front of PEP graduates, which really helps us fine tune our pitches. We are going to graduate in two weeks, and I cannot wait for the ceremony. For some of us, it is the first graduation we have ever been to, so it will be very special.

Thank you and God bless everyone!

 Zac W. (aka “Ryan Fitzpatrick”)



“You can map out a fight plan or a life plan, but when the action starts,

it may not go the way you planned, and you’re down to your reflexes –

that means your [preparation]. That’s where your road work shows.

If you cheated on that in the dark of the morning, well,

you’re going to get found out now, under the bright lights.”

– Joe Frazier

All cheaters get found out eventually. Like Johnny Cash said, “What’s done in the dark will be brought out into the light.” This is part of having integrity. Doing what you said you are going to do, even when nobody is around to see it. People will take notice of our efforts and what we have set out to accomplish. Sooner or later, we will be expected to perform. We will be put on the spot with a bar set at minimum acceptable performance. If that level is not met and exceeded at that time, it will be apparent to everyone that we were not committed and actually working as hard as we made it out to be.

Our time here in prison and working the Prison Entrepreneurship Program is our time in training. These are our dark hours of the morning, when we must push for every repetition, for every mile and for every second shaved off that mile. This is our time to rise and grind every day, even when we may not have to. Whether we are working on our character, personality or our physicality, we absolutely must gain every bit of ground possible and guard what we have gained with our lives. Because our lives really do depend on it.

Alex T. (aka “J.G. Wentworth”)



Week 10

Monday                                                                                             May 27, 2024

Hello there! We are here at the Sanders Estes unit participating in the Dynasty 2024 class. On Monday we were all sitting waiting on Adam W. to show up and come get us but that didn’t happen. We were all in the dayroom looking confused really as to what was going on. Then we turned on the news and realized there was a big storm with tornados that came through North Texas the night before, and another storm was on its way to us again. Around 8:30 a.m., it was count time so most of us went back into the cell or stayed out in the dayroom because we weren’t going anywhere. Some of us decided to get together and form a study group. We went over the next chapters for our entrepreneurship tests and financial literacy as well.

All of us have really good study habits now which are reflect in our test scores. We love being here, and the brotherhood continues to grow. Most of us have really embraced the change PEP has offered us, and we grow more and more every day. Then we all went to eat lunch, which was awesome because we were hungry!

When we came back, we held a pitch panel that went smoothly. Everyone knew their pitch, and there were only a couple of mess-ups. A few of us followed this by having a good workout together which really helps the day go by. They called us for recreation, and we went outside to get some sunshine. It was a really great day!

Thank you and God bless!

Jeffrey R. (aka “John Coffey”)


Tuesday                                                                                            May 28, 2024

Today we started our week with tornados and hail storms unfortunately. All classes were canceled. But that did not stop us from working on our studies and projects coming up. We studied for our Living in the Village tests. The book is about financial planning and the importance of being a productive and active member of our communities. It basically gives us life skills and lessons through financial decision making and practice questions. Along with that we are preparing for our final exam on our Entrepreneurship textbook. This is a college-level course that is also taught at Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business.

After lunch, we read the first three chapters of True North by Bill George and Peter Sims. It is about leadership and the different ways and paths leaders have taken to navigate their way through life. It is a good read about others’ successes and failures, and it will help us on our own journeys. Then some of us got together in groups to quiz each other on the 10 Driving Values which are the heart and core of PEP. We will be tested on them at some point in the future, as well as repeatedly after that to ensure that we know them. If applied in our lives, we will have a greater shot at success.

We then had a pitch panel in the dorm, which is where we “pitch” our ideas to the PEP graduates and get both practice and feedback to help sculpt our pitches and prepare for the big upcoming event. This is a prime example of PEP using prior participants to shape future graduates of the program. This is a way of life.

Thank you for your time!   

Jason S. (aka “Woody”)


Wednesday                                                                                      May 29, 2024

Today was back to the races for us since this weekend ended up being a four-day weekend. Monday was Memorial Day and Tuesday was marked by some very bad thunderstorms and tornados in the area. Business as usual meant we started our day by getting together with our teams and going to the front of the class and delivering the pitches we have all worked on so hard. Some teams have every word mapped and planned, and some of us have had to make last-minute changes and little additions here and there, all in the hopes of delivering the pitch that wins it all! While this is a competition, we all have helped each other along the way. We have become brothers over the last few months, and it shows.

We spent our second half in PEP’s Clubhouse. This is where we discuss with executive volunteers the merits of defining our purpose for ourselves in our lives, both now and in the future – and today brings us one step closer to the future. With good people guiding us and with our PEP brothers beside us, we have come to believe that the best is yet to come. Individuals in this group come from many different places and walks of life, but here in PEP we have learned to find that common ground that unifies us and allows us to become stronger and better together.

We look forward to taking the skills we have picked up here at PEP and applying them to our lives and careers once we get home. We have had the opportunity to see how these skills have helped us reach our goals here, and we are confident we will reach our goals out there as well.   

Jimmy S. (aka “Care Bear”)


Thursday                                                                                         May 30, 2024

Today was a great day of learning here in PEP! We started our day by catching up on some tests that we have all been studying very hard for. Everything happens for a reason, and it seems that due to Memorial Day weekend and the following inclement weather day, we were given the extra time to study for our Living in the Village and True North tests. A lot of us needed the crucial skills learned from Living in the Village, including how to best handle our finances; set a budget; and invest in lucrative, honorable things. Now that we know the steps to take, we can live financially secure lives and leave something to our loved ones. True North is enlightening so far, giving examples of how to find what keeps you going – this includes what we’re passionate about and good at so we can focus on succeeding.

Also, we practiced our pitches and graded each other’s performance. It was interesting how all of us have grown in public speaking, so that each man is able to add his personality into his pitch delivery. At first it was just trying to memorize the pitch, but through healthy feedback and becoming more comfortable, the growth in everyone is amazing.

The second half of the day we participated in a great lesson from the BetterMan series that taught us about being godly husbands who lead the home as men who can be counted on. Healthy relationships at home where everyone knows they are appreciated and loved is vital for our lasting growth. It’s important to take the time to spend with each other, not only doing what we like but taking time to do what others like too. Last of all (but most importantly if you ask me), couples that pray together, stay together.

Thank you for your support in helping us change. God bless!

Timothy S.  (aka “Captain Crunch”)


Friday                                                                                               May 31, 2024

Today was Pitch Day, and it wasn’t just great – it was life-changing. Pitching our businesses to executives has given us confidence to reach new heights. This has allowed us to work well outside of our comfort zones, which is something we’ve never done before. Anytime we were forced outside of our comfort zones, most of us would quit. However, the feedback, support and inspiration we’ve received have helped us embrace change and accept the new person we have become through PEP. Most of us were anti-social before coming to this program, but that is not the case now. We are able to articulate our thoughts and feelings, something most of us haven’t been able to do.

Once we were done pitching, we split into groups and conducted with a team exercise. We had to make a paper airplane and develop a business plan on why our paper plane was better than the other groups’ planes. This exercise seemed so simple, but it was really very powerful. It showed us adaptation and innovation at the same time. Being able to adapt to any environment we are placed in, and also be innovative and try to change that environment for good, will definitely help us when we get released from prison.

After the exercise, we heard a few words from a formerly incarcerated volunteer named La’David T. He was an inspiration and also a snapshot of how we want to give back upon our release from prison. He spoke about how we should really take this program seriously and how PEP helped him upon his release.

Today changed our lives. PEP has allowed us to shape new futures for ourselves!    

 La’Davious S. (aka “Red from Friday”)



“You cannot kindle a fire in any other heart

until it is burning within your own.”

– Eleanor Doan

For me, this quote can fit into many different aspects of my life at many different times. At this point in time where I’m at right now in PEP, this quote fits into our everyday activities. The activity I want to specifically point out is when my team is running our business pitch. I feel that if I’m not bringing the energy that I’m asking of my team, then I need to find it within myself before I ask them for it, as a good leader should.

There’s most likely been a time in everyone’s life when they have been asked to do some things that they thought were quite extreme. There are people like me who will not think twice about it and jump right in, but there are also people that are going to take a step back, think about it and say, “If you’re asking me to do this, have you ever done it yourself?” I’m not going to ask someone to do something that I would not do myself.

I remember a time when I was taking my dog for a walk through the woods and we came up on a creek. It was about a 15-foot drop-off down into a sandy creek bottom with a little stream of water about 6 feet wide running through it. I told my dog “Go,” since I was trying to get him to jump off first, but he wouldn’t do it, so I jumped off to show him it was okay. Then I called him and he followed. Once he had seen me light that fire within myself, he then let me lead him and let the fire burn within him.

To me, a good leader is someone who people want to follow, not someone who just wants people to follow him.

Trevor S. (aka “Pool Boy”)

Week 9

Monday                                                                                             May 20, 2024 

The day kind of started off slow, but we were finally called out for class right before count time, so fortunately we arrived in time. PEP tends to be our internal release, almost as if we forget incarceration, even if those feelings are temporary. When we gather together on holy ground here in the PEP classroom, it’s easy for all of us to understand the many characters in our book of life, while acknowledging everyone has their own book. PEP gives us unity in this ordered-yet-chaotic place, while providing a light in our darkness to embrace and plan for a better path.

Every morning is a blessing, even when a little delayed. We finally arrived at 1 p.m. and prayed-in, another perk to our program here. As we began, you could feel the energy rise exponentially – an everyday awakening for us. We all greeted each other and prayed together with hugs and handshakes. After that, we all danced a little to get our vibes right before watching a video on Chapter 14 out of the entrepreneurship textbook. While the video was playing, you could see men’s minds working out the problems and coming up with solutions. We then got into our groups and discussed the information. Afterwards, we did pitch panels until 3:30 p.m.

Our lives have changed here for the better. We are better men, husbands and sons, and we cannot wait to be with our families. Thank you!   

Jacob P. (aka “Johnny Bravo”)


Tuesday                                                                                            May 21, 2024

This morning, as usual, we got up around 6 a.m. to get ready for the day. By 7 a.m., we were out in the dayroom because the guards close the doors around that time. We were out in the dayroom studying for the Living in the Village test for about 30 minutes.

In-Prison Manager Adam W. normally gets us around 8 a.m., but today for some reason felt kind of strange. At 8:30 a.m., we started to think we weren’t going to have class, and it turns out we did not. Most of us went back to sleep or took a nap or even kept studying. Some of us started to get a workout in before our second half of class was to begin.

Adam W. came and got us after lunch. We arrived to the PEP classroom and were full of energy, which was exciting. We then went over Chapter 14 of the entrepreneurship course and watched the video as well. We usually have an executive come in and teach the class the current chapter, but this time it was in video format. We then broke into groups and went over our business plans and practiced our pitches to refine them as much as possible. We all want to do great and become better speakers.

Today was a great day, and we cannot wait for what comes next! Thank you and God bless.

  Alejandro P. (aka “The Meerkat”)


Wednesday                                                                                      May 22, 2024

Today was a good but sad day as we covered the last chapter of Living in the Village. Chaplain Bruce T. has been coming to our class every Monday for more than three months to teach us the chapters on financial literacy. Although today was all about finishing our last few chapters, Bruce T. is always available to us as we told a few jokes with each other, it really brought us closer together as brothers.

During the second half of class, we went to eat lunch and then we assembled for “Clubhouse,” which is a really cool event just for us. It is a place where we come and have meaningful discussions with executives who open up and share comradery with us. Clubhouse is awesome and useful to us in many different ways. We would like to thank the many executives that come to share with us and support the program. It is people like you that make PEP possible and able to continually grow into what it is. It also gives us hope and determination to do great things, and we are honored by the opportunity to be a part of this. We are able to interact with people from many different cultures and backgrounds blending together to make a beautiful community of brothers.

By the end of our Clubhouse, we were all laughing and having a great time. It was an awesome day full of life and growth. PEP is amazing, and we couldn’t be happier to be part of this program.    

Nestor Q. (aka “Lollipop”)


Thursday                                                                                         May 23, 2024

Today was fantastic! We held our third pitch competition, and the energy and passion that all of the teams showed could be felt in the room. There were six outstanding volunteers from Texas Instruments and one from the United Way in the crowd. We are getting closer and closer to the final pitch event, and you could tell everyone has been practicing because their best is really coming through. To have people and companies come into prison and take time away from their work and families to spend the day with us is really a blessing and a gift.

For most of us, this is a true “first chance” to be seen as a human being instead of a number. PEP and companies like Texas Instruments take that hope and turn it into a dream come true. All of us in the program have so much life left to give and so much more to give back. That’s why all of our teams give it their all and, truth be known, the competition is pretty close. In the end though, we still know how to have fun. We helped the volunteers leave through a crowd of love and high fives.

Afterwards, we spent the rest of the day having dance battles – yes, dance battles! Some of our brothers made it clear that dancing wasn’t their strong suit. Others had so much fun it could be seen on their faces. We ended the day clapping at some awesome moves and crying over others, and it was a great break from the testing and pitch panels. There were even three birthdays celebrated before it was all over.

Today was a turned-up Thursday, and it was great!       

Jesus Q. (aka “Leprechaun”)


Friday                                                                                               May 24, 2024

We ended the week on a great note! In the morning we attended a devotional that is conducted by our In-Prison Manager, Adam W. We started by praying-in and having a little worship of the Lord. Then Adam W. proceeded to speak about the favor that God has toward his chosen people and how many times he tests us to strengthen us so that we don’t bow out of the path or to bow down to others/things in life but keep walking in his ways.

There is a reward for those who stay faithful to God. Adam W. began to illustrate this by reading about the story of Queen Ester and her uncle Mordecai. He stayed faithful, even when his life was in danger, and he refused to bow down to Haman. Because of this, the Lord rewarded Mordecai and punished the people that stood against him – all because he chose to walk on the path that the Lord set before him. No matter the obstacles, we stay strong in the Lord and trust him.

Adam W. also spoke about how God is not the God of luck because there is no such thing as luck. It was a great devotional, and we all got something from it for sure. We then went back to the dorm and studied for our test coming up. After lunch, we held pitch panels. I cannot wait for another day and hopefully it will be just as good!   

Sergio R.  (aka “The Real Roberto”)



“Where there is no guidance people fall,

but in abundance of counselors there is victory.”

– Proverbs 11:14

We are all stewards of the various talents and opportunities we possess. The minister is a steward of the mysteries of God. The parent is a steward, and what a blessing stewardship is to be entrusted with the training of immortal souls for the kingdom of the Lord! The rich man is a steward; his property is not his own, but he is entrusted with it.

Similarly, we are entrusted with the time that we have been given on this planet. Today we were blessed with the presence of some executives who chose to give back to the community through us. Humans are fallible creatures, and we are all subject to mistakes, temptations and bad decisions. However, this program has really helped us to see our potential, with constant reassurance from executives, volunteers and staff who choose to be good stewards of their time.

The things that we are learning about ourselves, as well as the good we bring out in each other, have really made an impact on our decision making, including what we choose to do with our time. For instance, on Friday Adam W. did a devotional based on Malachi because we know our day is coming when we will be free. Our days of greatness are upon us! Soon we will take what we have learned and apply the tools we are being equipped with in our lives so that we can achieve greatness. Our class, individually and as a whole, has been broken down in order to set a solid foundation, reinforced with the brotherhood that is PEP!

Jose R. (aka “Chung Lee”)



Week 8

Monday                                                                                             May 13, 2024  

Merrian-Webster defines “identity” as the condition of being oneself or the sense of self. Attributes, however, are defined as the quality or characteristics of a person (or that self). Today, we attained our identity through a stimulating and arduous debate. Author James Allen wrote, “The dreamers are the saviors of the world.” As we listened to our brothers share their dreams of the attributes they desire to be identified with, emotions charged us as we found a new level of empathy for each other. With open minds and open hearts, we took a hard look at the brothers that came before us and identified closely with the succession of “Prolific” men, whose fruit began to give form to this PEP “Dynasty.”

It is with much honor and love in my heart that we can proudly give you a glimpse into the life of the Estes Summer 2024, now named “Dynasty” – one that will continue to write great new chapters of our personal history while reframing our past history’s impact. Our class is a “dynasty” of unbreakable, unshakeable, victorious overcomers fueled by the covenant we made with our Creator, our program and ourselves, to use the redemption we’ve received (along with the spark PEP has provided) to rise above our circumstances, insofar as we are able, to produce the most righteous fruit.

Meanwhile, this was just the icing on the cake as our beloved Chaplain, Bruce T., had just completed his lecture on Chapters 12 and 13 of Living in the Village by Ryan C. Mack. It is by the priceless support of our volunteers like Bruce T. that men like us can identify as the “Dynasty” we are, not the number we were given. Without our great volunteers, there is no PEP.

Anthony M. (aka “Mr. Mustachio”) 



Tuesday                                                                                            May 14, 2024 

Every Tuesday at PEP, we take tests on our Entrepreneurship textbook – and today was that very day. Now that we are 2.5 months in, we have built a passion within our class and have become quite competitive. This has made it so much more fun and enjoyable. We also did our Toastmasters class where we gave 5 to 7-minute speeches on topics we chose.

By about 1 p.m. on this beautiful Tuesday, we were done with Toastmasters and began running our pitches to practice for events both this Thursday and our big event on May 31st. Everyone has gotten so much better at their public speaking skills; it is truly remarkable. So many of us had such a hard time speaking in front of a crowd with a microphone, but now we are all equipped and ready for such a challenge, thanks to Toastmasters. We had speeches today on various subjects, such as how to swap out engines in a truck; teamwork; ego and its effects; and paradigm shifts. The depth of knowledge and experience these men possess makes it very intriguing to listen to. The wisdom that has been cultivated from our mistakes due to the acceptance of our faults and hang ups has made us into such a powerful potential and force to be reckoned with, and we can only give God the glory. This is a direct reflection of why we end our day at PEP every day with a prayer of thanks to our loving Creator.  

Justin O. (aka “Lemonhead”) 



Wednesday                                                                                      May 15, 2024 

Today we welcomed to PEP’s Clubhouse “free world” executive volunteers Jim H., Jeff H., Scott S. and Melissa F. All four came to the PEP classroom today to share, as well as listen to our stories about leadership and what it means to have a vision of a successful life and what that looks like. Jim H. started us off with his story and how young he was when God gave him the vision to follow his dreams in order to live a good successful life. Jim H. told the class that he decided at an early age to work for himself because nobody could appreciate his work more than he could himself.

Scott S. had a similar story, although it took him multiple tries and do-overs to achieve his ultimate goal, which was leading by example and teaching others how to lead and live a successful life. Scott S. shared that a person has to first have a passion and then figure out what drives him – and then he needs to go for it. Melissia F. on the other hand explained that we all drive our own success, even if we’ve got to figure out how we’re going to get there and what it will take. Melissa F. said that she had always been drawn toward helping people to pursue their dreams and encouraging them to live successful lives.

Jeff H. was very intelligent and has been retired for a few years. He had become a successful businessman, although he shared with us that he wishes he had spent more of his life focused on his family rather than trying to see how much money he could build up in the bank account. Jim H. ended class by saying if you don’t know where you’re going, then you’re already there. 

James O. (aka “Xan’s Dad”) 



Thursday                                                                                         May 16, 2024 

Every day is a blessing, and we were excited to wake up and start the day. We had an event where we got to share our pitches to some new volunteers. The energy in the classroom was amazing, especially with long-time volunteers John S. and Michele G., who are always the life of the party. At first, we could tell that our new guests didn’t know what to expect, but once the dancing started, they knew this wasn’t just any prison program. This is a group of brothers!

Once everyone introduced themselves, we broke off into groups. We shared with them all that we have learned in PEP and all of our business plans. Next, we had the chance to talk with each guest one-on-one. This is important to a lot of us because we get to talk about our ideas or just share and converse about business in general. In that moment, we aren’t just prisoners; we are people.

It didn’t stop there though. Next, our guests shared how today’s event impacted them and then gave us some encouraging words to stay on the path that we are on. At this point, we received some cookies to munch on, and who doesn’t love cookies! At the end of this event, we sent our guests off with much love and appreciation.

Now every day is a blessing, but what we did not know was that one of our brothers was getting some painful news that his brother had died due to a motorcycle accident. The room became silent as we gathered around our brother. As we all reached out, words of prayer filled the room – he was not alone, and we would not let him fall. Nothing can take away the pain of losing a loved one. But we are PEP, we live between the wings and everyone here is a brother, through thick and thin, so we will always have each other’s back! This is our Dynasty!    

Ethan P.  (aka “Butterscotch”) 



Friday                                                                                               May 17, 2024 

Today we were out of class, so all of us were extremely happy to catch up on some homework and some rest. Once we woke up, the dayroom was pretty empty because most of us were in the cell studying or what not. Our tablets have some items for sale on it, so we were all checking movies out and talking about which ones we liked. After that, some of us went to our religious services before having a great workout session. It is very easy to become lazy here in prison, so it is important to have a good routine down.

We showered and got ready for the rest of the day. We all sat down at the tables and decided to study the 10 Driving Values, which are super important. We will have a test over these values and get a 90 or above to pass, which means you can only miss one. All of the 10 Driving Values can be applied to our daily lives and here in PEP, we work on that every day. Love and Fun are super important to me, and to be a great Servant-Leader I will live out these specific values.

We then went and ate dinner which wasn’t bad at all. It was pasta with beef, beans and cornbread. After that, we went back to the dorm and held pitch panels to sharpen our ability to pitch effectively in front of the executives. All in all, it was a great day, and I cannot wait to be at the event on Friday! 

Devon P.  (aka “Jake from State Farm”) 




“Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself.”

~ James Allen


This is a powerful quote and one of my favorites. Most men you run into in here speak of the things and people that either raised them or they simply came across, and how these people affected who they are today. As children we made mistakes, but as fully grown men we are responsible for our decisions and their outcomes and effects on others. It’s easy to play the victim and deflect part of this responsibility. However, as the quote states above, if our circumstance actually reveals to us what we are on the inside, will the prison sentence be the hammer blow that defeats me? Or will it be the match that lights the fire of my re-birth?

Prison culture is a beast that feeds off of hate and extreme violence and once here, it’s not easy to steer clear of it – in some instances, your survival can depend upon it. Fortunately, PEP offers a different path involving ways to affect your circumstances instead of becoming a victim of them. I believe being in prison can reveal to us a sense of what we truly want to be. We ask ourselves questions like, “How do we wish to be loved and remembered?” and “Will I have a heart of love and understanding, or one of stone and unforgiveness?”

It’s in the perception of our circumstances that we find our purpose and path. Where others see a prison, we can see opportunity and a chance to redefine who we are. Our circumstances can either make us or break us – it is up to us to decide! 

Jonathan P.  (aka “Farva”) 



Week 7

Monday                                                                                             April 22, 2024

Today was a jammed packed Monday as we started the day off with Chaplain Bruce T. teaching us Chapters 9, 10 and 11 out of Living in the Village. He has a positive outlook and shows up every Monday with a warm, welcoming smile. Next, we went into session five of BetterMan, called “Defining Manhood.” It was about a 30-minute video as we followed along filling in blanks in our workbook. Here is a quote that grabbed our attention: “Rising up and sending out healthy, well-grounded children is how we, as men, best contribute to bettering society and ensuring its future stability.” Learning how to be a better father for our children, a better husband to our wives, a better son for our parents and to be an all-around better man in life is essential. What we learned today will help us excel in our journey to becoming better men.

After that, we took a break for lunch and came right back, jumping into Toastmasters which is the public speaking part of our curriculum. It helps us become better speakers so that we can get messages across to our listeners eloquently. Our Toastmasters lead told us, “A good speaking voice should be balanced between extremes of volume, pitch, rate and quality.” This week we are working on Project 6’s “Vocal Variety.”

We are all growing as brothers, breathing as one and helping one another, never leaving anyone behind. We thank all the PEP staff, volunteers and brothers for the support and love you have shown us. Life is not easy, but with PEP, it is worth it. Have a blessed day.

Ellis M. (aka “Justin Bieber”)


Tuesday                                                                                            April 23, 2024

Today was a pretty decent day. We had to take the Economics of One Unit (EOUs) test, and you could feel the energy in the air and how nervous everyone was. Some of us were confident, but most were unsure about how the test might go. We also did Toastmasters; we all seem to be getting the hang of public speaking, and today’s speeches were the best so far. No need to be nervous anymore! Our freestyle skills could improve, but we have got the order of things down. Writing out a speech on paper and saying it in front of people are two different things. With Toastmasters, we seem to be doing great (at least in our minds), but some of us need to work on our confidence and getting more comfortable. It is a work in progress to be sure.

We have also been studying another one of PEP’s 10 Driving Values: Fun. Work is an important part of life, and it should be fun and rewarding. It has been fun during this PEP class for sure. There was one point in class where the entire class had to do a little dancing and we call them “Fonda’s.” It’s hilarious, let me tell you! All of the Peer Educators and Servant Leaders joined in with us to make us feel like a brotherhood. All in all, it was a great day and lots of fun. We try to soak in all the knowledge we can, and PEP makes it fun and rewarding. We cannot wait to graduate and become awesome Servant Leaders that will help bring in the new class! Thank you and God bless everyone!    

  D’Terrian M. (aka “Bruce Leroy”)


Wednesday                                                                                      April 24, 2024

Today feels like a special day. The date actually has three 2’s and three 4’s which is pretty cool. In class we worked on our pitches. There is a total of sixteen business teams. We have two pitches to do: a financial pitch and an operations pitch. Today we are trying to tighten things up for when we present our own pitches to the judges who will come and pick the best. We listened in closely to the other teams as they recorded their pitches for feedback.

Our group has been working diligently on a small business venture that has to do with supplements. Chase C. who is our CEO is going to pitch with us on Friday. When it comes to remembering these pitches, we are trying our best. Our fellow brothers say that when we do our Toastmasters speeches, they sound pretty good. But when we have to remember eight or nine sentences, it can be challenging. Our group does great when we get up there and the pressure is on, so we think we are going to do very well. We get to practice all the way up till Friday, and that will help. We have a couple groups of people coming in on Friday to help us with our business plans and give some feedback as well.

We enjoy working as a team, and it is very helpful to have our brothers tell us things we can improve on. The days are really fun here in PEP, and we get down to business when it comes time. Thank you and God bless!

Jon M. (aka “Tommy Esquire from Martin”)


Thursday                                                                                         April 25, 2024

Today was a great day. We worked on our Living in the Village workbook chapters that we have to turn in soon. The chapters were filled with amazing nuggets of knowledge pertaining to our financial futures and the importance of saving and planning for the inevitable rainy days to come. Bruce T. thankfully sacrifices his time each week to help educate us towards our own financial independence, and hopefully wealth if applied properly. He is one of the many volunteers that PEP provides to help guide us on our own journey to becoming better businessmen and, even more importantly, better men.

Since class began in March, we have been blessed each week with a slew of different mentors, each equally as impressive as the next and each possessing unique talents. The depth and effort of care that PEP and these individuals put into us is humbling to say the least. We’ve all watched each other grow so much in this time, and to think, we are barely halfway through the course.

Sitting in a room of like-minded individuals is awesome; we are all pioneers, inventors, dreamers and leaders. We can literally feel the vibrant energy of success pulsing through the air, and it is amazing. Some of the most successful men in history strove to put themselves in rooms like the one we sit in right now. The steps we take now place us on a path to greatness. The expectations we place on ourselves are equally placed on our brothers, and through this, our PEP brotherhood will prevail.   

Adam M.  (aka “Dexter ”)


Friday                                                                                               April 26, 2024

Hello and thank God it’s Friday – it’s another day we are blessed to be a part of. We started the morning off with the pray-in done by Jesus Q., and it was awesome. It is always good to have God’s blessing over us in class. The morning emcee was Augustus F., which was great because he is good at his job. He was able to do an amazing job putting the class in a positive mood with insight and some good jokes to start the morning. I liked how he talked about how we should not forget the people we impact in this life. This gave me a new point of view about how the little details can impact others in major ways. Adam W. showed us a video that his spouse had made for him. It showed us how he is using his “fresh start” outlook to start over and give us hope.

Out of 76 pitches, there are 17 teams that are going to the next phase as we prepare for the Business Plan Competition (BPC). The teams are at the point where the CFO and CEO are recording their videos for executives to review so that they can give us feedback. A lot of teams were nervous, but we were able to execute outstanding results. To help people who were struggling with calculating the monthly statement of product sales or Economics of One Unit (EOUs), we were given information that helped explain it. We also performed pitches to help reduce nervousness and get us ready.

This program is here to help all PEP brothers succeed in life. Augustus F. has provided more motivating information to me as a brother. It was a great day, and I cannot wait for tomorrow!  

Hughie M.  (aka “Bernie Whack”)



“Life is love and family.”

– Devin M.

There are many dysfunctional families today, with the average family consisting of three to five people. Although they all share many character and physical traits, conflicts exist due to each person’s individual qualities. Siblings argue and parents often disagree. The difference between a healthy family that has been trained in moral character and a dysfunctional one is that in a healthy family, all family members are given the love, respect and support needed to develop good moral character traits. In families educated in positive moral character, appropriate affection is shown and given. It is important for members of a family to display true love and concern. Children from families educated in positive morals know that family members can be trusted. Children communicate their needs in positive ways and respect their parents in the best way. Members of the family verbally express their care and concern for each other by saying that they love each other and appreciate each other. Verbal courtesies such as “please,” “thank you” and “I apologize” are frequently used in everyday interactions.

In these families, the use of kind words is valued; physical and mental health are valued as well. Therefore, the use of alcohol and drugs is discouraged, and positive communication and discussions take place to help. Families just need to communicate and show love to each other in all ways and everything will work out in most cases.

Be thankful for your family and don’t take it for granted. Peace and love to all.   

Devin M.  (aka “Men in Black Termite”)

Week 6

Monday                                                                                             April 15, 2024                                   

Today was a very productive day. We started off with our weekly Living in the Village test and the results were pretty good. Afterwards, we took pictures with our business pitch groups, each consisting of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Operations Officer (COO), Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Then we got surprised with a very hot, awesome cup of coffee. We also studied the Economics of One Unit (EOUs). This shows us the business revenue model of one unit of sale, the price per unit, cost of goods sold per unit and gross profit per unit.

We learn so much in this valuable program; it is very much needed at this point in our lives. Our goals are to make parole and complete PEP. The class uplifts us every day in so many ways. All of the volunteers bring so much positive energy and spirit, and we look forward to each and every one of them coming and sharing with us.

Today was a short day. Those of us who were not named CEO were a bit disappointed and let down, but we are all one step closer to completing the program and being released and will still gain valuable tools of working in a team. This program has revealed so many things in our lives that we didn’t even know we were missing. Once we make parole and find a job, with the help from our PEP brothers and sisters, failing will not be an option. We all need jobs, transportation, housing and our families.

Graduation day is getting closer as well. After seeing all the graduation photos from the last class in their caps and gowns has given us the strength to continue, and we will not let anything come between us and the completion of this program.

Scott J. (aka “Porkchop”)


Tuesday                                                                                            April 16, 2024

Today was a great day. We started off with Toastmasters, an awesome group we are lucky to have the opportunity to be a part of. It gives us the opportunity to get to know our classmates on a deeper level and learn things that we might not normally open up about with other people, helping us to acknowledge our peers and learn about them as people. PEP is doing a lot of stuff for us that we could never have expected in prison.

Today we also took two tests from our entrepreneurship textbook. It is teaching us step by step how to run a successful business in the future, giving us every detail and showing us the importance of managing money, as well as the risks of not being careful and mindful of the details. The love of work will lead to success, and to be successful you have to put in the work and do everything as correctly as possible, accepting the risk of losing valuable time. With everything PEP has to offer, we understand that what we put into this program is what we will get out of it. Every day we get better because we are taking the time to interact with one another and learn new things from each other. We are changing how we think; everything that we do is with the team in mind. We help one another so that there’s no brother left behind. Our Servant-Leaders and emcees always deliver valuable knowledge to us, day after day. We appreciate the knowledge, support, and everything PEP is doing for us.

Darrell K.  (aka “Tootsie Roll”)


Wednesday                                                                                      April 17, 2024

Today was one of the most meaningful days (so far) because we participated in a group called BetterMan. We watched videos on sessions three and four today, which were about addressing the past. There are two steps for addressing the past: 1. Looking back and examining our past. 2. Unpacking and engaging our trouble spots. Trouble spots are any unresolved issues from our past such as dad wounds, lack of clear manhood vision, unprocessed trauma, addictive habits, negative friends and being spiritually stuck.

After we watched the first video, we broke up into discussion groups. In our groups, we took turns talking about our individual trouble spots and how they have affected our lives. Session four focused on the dad factor, going over the importance of dads. We learned that there are three types of dads: problematic, good and smart. It also gave us helpful advice on fatherhood and dealing with parenting challenges, as well as some advice to sons with dad wounds. We all believe these videos are amazing, and while they impact everyone differently, they are helping us to become “better men.” Many people had plenty of positive feedback to encourage one another to become the best they can be for themselves and their families.

The reason that today was the most significant of the program so far is that watching and taking part in the discussions has brought tears to several of our eyes. We all hope to become better men someday, and here at PEP we are on the right track. Thank you PEP for making this possible.

Sunday L. (aka “Fonzie”)


Thursday                                                                                        April 18, 2024

Today we had a very good teacher come in as a special guest. His name was Jim H. (aka “Elmer Fudd”). The lecture he gave was full of useful information. He taught us many formulas and ratios that allow a business to tell exactly where it is in terms of production, finances and debt. To most of us, all the formulas and ratios were confusing at first, but Jim H. really took his time and worked with us to help us learn this stuff. He did a great job taking questions and comments from us to help us better understand some complicated subject matter, especially the various calculations that seemed complex at first. We also learned that measurements and metrics can help a company adjust when and where it needs to in order to be more successful.

By the end of the lecture, it became clear to us the importance of being able to measure performance. Being able to properly work these formulas and ratios will help our businesses be successful. Some of the key terms we learned include ratio analysis, deviation analysis, sensitivity analysis and short surveys. These are all tools that can make your business a success and can help you analyze your business as it progresses, allowing an entrepreneur to adjust on the fly. We were made to understand that operating a business without using these tools is basically operating in the dark.

The second half of the day we spent starting our team videos: CEO, COO, and CMO. We all had to memorize our pitches and give them on camera. Our team did a great job, and we were all very proud.

Roy M. (aka “Little Teapot”)


Friday                                                                                               April 19, 2024

Today we all woke up, blessed to live a life of change. We may not be where we wish to be, but together we will continue to work as brothers to be amazing men of success for the ones we love. Walking into class today and seeing all the happiness and excited brothers’ faces was amazing. When they called bottom bunks to the back of the room, everyone danced their way up to the front with smiles and swagger! For those who are reading this and wondering what “back of the room” means, every morning the people we think need to loosen up get posted on the video screen and have to dance to the front of the classroom through the middle of the whole class.

Next, we prayed in with Javier C. as a family before Kyle W. and Isaac B. gave a presentation about our financial summary and “ask” for our businesses. They did an outstanding job. Afterwards one of our alumni brothers Don D. came in and spoke to us about his experience with PEP and how it got him to where he is today. Then he helped us with how to deliver our business pitches for the Business Pitch Competition.

While we were doing this, others finished their videos on the questions we had for the executive volunteers. Pitching on video while sitting down requires a different skill set and has a much different feel to it than getting up in front of the class and pitching, so it required a bit of adjustment from the teams. After we had finished, we then prayed out to finish our day.

 Javier M. (aka “Alf”)



“Our difficulties are largely due to confused

ideas and ignorance of our

true interests.”

~ Charles F. Haanel

Experience is something lived through or encountered by us personally. My experience with PEP has been a very interesting one to say the least. The program was difficult for me at first because of my lack of trust in others. I was confused because this program clashed with everything I believed in (or at least what I thought I believed in). Once I became personally involved in PEP rather than just showing up, both my mind and heart began to open up. One example of this is being held accountable for my actions. True accountability is not only holding others accountable but also ourselves. That is a difficulty many of us face these days. Being able to hold ourselves accountable is also known as having integrity. These are two of PEP’s 10 Driving Values, and these are the two most important in my personal opinion. I feel that without accountability and integrity, you cannot have a Servant-Leader Mentality (another of our Driving Values). That also brings about Wise Stewardship.

So much of it all comes down to trust, love and honor. My mind has begun to understand the true meaning of all of these words that we like to use so freely. I know that we all feel as if we do right by our friends and family, but it is more than just saying “I love you” or helping them out in a time of need. It is doing right by people. When people see you step up and stand on principal for what is really right, they will have a new-found respect for you because they can see the respect you have for yourself.  

David M. (aka “Jazz”)


Week 5

Monday                                                                                               April 8, 2024

Today was a relatively calm and relaxed day in class to start off the week. We prayed in and gave thanks to the almighty creator God. Then we found out which business plans will continue to be developed through the end of class. Those whose plans were picked are now the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) – a big congratulations to our brothers whose ideas were selected at last Friday’s Big Idea Pitch event.

Then Mike G. from the Bell Unit came and did the draft picking for the teams, asking each CEO what position they wanted to fill first; their options were Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and Chief Operations Officer (COO). Once this was done, we each blew up a balloon and wrote our name on it, and they were placed on the other side of the classroom divider. Then we were instructed to go and find our balloon without talking, helping anyone else find his balloon or touching any other balloons. We were given two minutes to do this, and only about half the men in class found their balloons. Then we were given another two minutes to do this, but this time we were able to talk and touch the balloons, and it was completed in under two minutes, which was awesome. This just shows that not working together holds back most people, so some people get left behind.

Once we were finished, Adam W.  and Gerald D. told us to get in our teams to complete a team-building exercise, which was both cool and fun: we had to build a tower with a marshmallow, spaghetti noodles and a couple pieces of tape. Whichever team had the tallest tower in a certain length of time won.

That pretty much wrapped our day up. Thank you for reading!

Shawn G. (aka “Bobby Bouche”)


Tuesday                                                                                              April 9, 2024

Today in PEP we practiced our public speaking. The topics covered today ranged from milk to relentlessness to the purpose of brotherhood. The speech about brotherhood had three sub-topics: accountability, constructive criticism and motivation. We learned that accountability is needed between brothers so we can help one another succeed and be the best we can be and nothing less. We also learned accountability should come from ourselves because no one wants to help someone who won’t help themselves.

Constructive criticism is also a key aspect in being a brother. We learned that we must be open to positive feedback and constructive criticism from those who are trying to help and only want the best for us. Last, we learned that we need the motivation of our brothers.

Afterwards, we took two tests over Chapters 9 and 12 in our entrepreneurship textbook which covered laws, legal regulations and establishing operations. When we finished our tests, we did some peer responses that help our brothers navigate their lives.

Every day, there is always some type of excitement as we dance and pray like a big family would do, so during the second half of class, all the CEOs that were picked had to go to the back of the room to dance up to the front. Some of my brothers can dance and while others cannot, but it is all fun to see! We also had two birthdays to celebrate today which was really cool. This program is awesome, and we are proud to be a part of it.     

 Jacob G. (aka “The Fake DJ Khaled”)


Wednesday                                                                                        April 10, 2024

Every day before anything else, we all bow our heads as one of our PEP brothers prays us in. PEP is a seed of opportunity and growth as we are challenged to grow daily. Today was no different. Bruce T. taught us from Chapters 7 and 8 of Living in The Village. Bruce T. is such a blessing as he teaches us something new every single week. Examples include budgets, credit scores, how to get out of debt, how to stay out of debt, different types of insurance, retirement plans, and his personal experience. He is also a part of PEP’s e-School (weekly business instruction) once we are released. He always tells us to get a hold of him before we buy a car, insurance or anytime we have a question. Bruce T. is one of the reasons why PEP is such a blessing.

After we took our Living in The Village test, Dan W. and Tyrone O. taught us about how different social media can be beneficial platforms for marketing our business. After that, we got in our groups to discuss business strategies and talk about our pitches. Every team has a CEO, CMO, CFO and COO, and we work together to build, market, operate and finance a business. While we were in our groups, Adam W. (our PEP In-Prison Manager at Estes) and Mike G. (PEP’s Character Development Specialist at the Bell Unit) called men up to gather information and provide transitional housing acceptance letters.

Every day in PEP is like this, where everything we do is beneficial to us both today and for our future. The executive volunteers, Bruce T., Mike G., Adam W., Gerald D. and all of our Servant-Leaders are the reason we have the best chance to make it on our own. They lead by example to share their knowledge and interact with us on a personal level. It’s a blessing to watch our brothers grow, and we can’t wait until tomorrow.

Ronald H. (aka “Hank Hill”)


Thursday                                                                                           April 11, 2024

Today was a day full of guests, which usually happens on Thursdays because it’s when we learn entrepreneurship from an executive who volunteers to speak with and teach us. We had two guests today named Jim H. and Jimmy W., who both taught us a chapter from the entrepreneurship textbook we are all reading. Although we don’t force it, we encourage volunteers to dance up to the front of the classroom. This is a PEP routine we do daily to open us up, have more fun, show that we don’t have to be so tough and remind ourselves that it’s okay to smile.

Today was really eventful because not only did we have speakers come in, we recorded some videos for our Big Idea competition. A lot of us didn’t have our business ideas selected, but we are going to be working with our brothers to help their ideas come to life by presenting an awesome business plan for at the end of class’s Business Plan Competition (BPC) event. So, we will put forth a lot of effort and know that it is for our brothers. We are learning a lot together and if you are open-minded enough to change for the better then positive changes are sure to come, but change has to be something you want for yourself.

One thing we can get in here is plenty of homework, and it really helps us with accountability and personal growth. However, we are all very appreciative of the executives who come to speak with us and dedicate their time to us – it really means the world to us. Thanks to everyone supporting us and want to see us evolve into great men.

Anthony H.  (aka “Hairline”)


Friday                                                                                                 April 12, 2024

Our eventful day began with us getting down to business, starting with a pray-in. After that we got into our teams to construct a business plan. Augustus F. and Ryan B. took over the class to give us some laughs and get us to loosen up for our entrepreneurship tests and Toastmasters. We had a wonderful time with Toastmasters and getting the chance to talk about our lives, as well as how God has brought us through. We love Toastmasters because it teaches us to have a voice worth listening to and to give us time to work on how we should speak in a professional setting.

Then Laura S., PEP’s Family Liaison at the Estes Unit, came in for Family Day. She helped us get our graduation guest lists straightened out for our big graduation day in June and took down other important information. Laura S. is a true angel! She is so great. In PEP we learn a lot about giving a whole lot of love, and we are able to see it in practice through the work of Laura S., Adam W., Gerald D. and the rest of the PEP staff.

This week has been another great one as usual, and our In-Prison Manager and fearless leader Adam W. always keeps us inspired in some way, whether it’s through sharing his testimony and transformation or just keeping our spirits up with some good old-fashioned jokes. Whatever it is, PEP makes it fun to learn, and we are truly making dreams come true.

Roncarlos J. (aka “Jeffrey the Butler”)



“I have a dream.”

~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Whether you are daydreaming or you’re dreaming in your sleep, I believe you should pay close attention to your dreams. It could be that your true calling comes to you in a dream; God is trying to speak to you through your subconscious; or an ancestor or friend trying to reach out to you from another realm. I was told when you fall asleep, your spirit can leave your physical body and can travel to other planes of existence. Have you ever been asleep and your dream felt so real that you woke up in a panic with the sweats, or even crying or screaming? Do you feel like it was a dream, or a sign of something more, that your spirit went and visited another realm? If Martin Luther King Jr. had the dream that we would all come together, and it came true, was it just a dream or a sign of something more? Or how about when a person says, “It was my dream to become a professional basketball player” and the person becomes exactly that? It makes you want to question what a dream really is. Is it a sign? Is it reality? Or is it you seeing into your future?

Have you ever been thinking about something before you went to sleep and dreamed about that thought? I hope you continue dreaming and dream big! A person will only achieve as much as can be conceived, so dream as big as you can, guard your thoughts and have good dreams. You never know what you can do. Keep dreaming!

Joey H. (aka “Shanaynay”)


Week 4

Monday                                                                                             April 1, 2024

Today we had a guest speaker named Chaplain Bruce T. who went over Chapters 5 and 6 of Living in the Village by Ryan C. Mack. Chapter 5 was all about estate planning and the importance of having a will, which was all new information for many of us. We also did not know that seven out of 10 people die without a will. Next, we went over Chapter 6’s topic: credit. We learned what FICO stands for (Fair Isaac Corporation) and what is considered a poor, below average, average, good, and great FICO score. After going over all of that information, we took a test on Chapter 4, which Bruce T. reviewed with us last week—but before that, he gave our emcee, Ryan B., a Wheel of Doom. It was really hilarious and one of the best ones so far.

The test on Chapter 4 was super easy for us because we studied hard for it. After the test, we watched a film about how to fill out PEP’s Family Form. We will need to fill out this form and give it to our Family Liaison so that she can provide class updates to our loved ones. The video was very helpful, and we are all excited to meet our Family Liaison soon so that she can start reaching out to our families.

After the video, we went over a PowerPoint presentation about marketing strategy. Kyle W. explained to us what we would need to include in our business’s marketing strategy. He said that we would need to write our own “Market, Competition and Differentiation” script for our own business plans. Afterwards we went to lunch.

When we returned from lunch, we did our Toastmasters speeches. Once we were dismissed and went back to the dorm, we held pitch panels. Today was a great day, and we are excited for what’s to come. Thanks PEP for everything!

Gregory D. (aka “Mr. Miogi”)


Tuesday                                                                                            April 2, 2024

Today was a good and productive day for us. It was test day; it was also a day for Toastmasters, where we could see the growth in our classmates and their public speaking abilities. There were a few things that were said today that really resonated with us. It was our PEP brother Sunday L. who said in his Toastmasters speech that love was the most important thing. It reminded us of something that we read that morning about how love is one of the most important things you can give to your children because it helps them grow and know they are very important to you. We all have been doing our best in the class, and it really shows—a lot of love is being spread throughout this program; it is awesome.

We took the test today, and we all think that we studied hard enough that we all passed. It was about mission statements which describe company goals and market strategies – both of which are super important for a company. Once we all finished the test, we came back to the PEP classroom and practiced our business pitches. We were glad to get the chance to practice, since we have an event coming up later this week. We all want to do great on our test; we also feel pretty confident that we will do very well at Friday’s Big Idea Pitch event.

We want to thank everyone involved in PEP, and especially Gerald D. and Adam W. for all that they do for us!

 Johnnie D. (aka “Buckwheat”)


Wednesday                                                                                      April 3, 2024

Today we had a volunteer come in and teach us some really good information on this book the whole class is reading called Living in the Village. Bruce T. taught us about getting your house in order by obtaining and maintaining up-to-date estate planning documents. He talked about “estate tax” vs. “gift tax,” as well as the four key components of an estate plan: a Last Will and Testament, a Durable Springing Financial Power of Attorney, a Living Will and a Health Care Proxy.

We also had another guest come in after him named Michelle G., and she was awesome. She talked about how to “build the business” and establish an operation. She talked about a number of distinct actions that must be taken in order for a new business to begin operation (location, financing considerations, legitimacy, production management, quality, a critical path chart and time management). She did great and gave a lot of valuable information and pointers that will really help us. She was fun to listen to and taught it in a fun way too. She broke everything down and made it to where it was easy to learn. We are so thankful for everything.

This program is absolutely amazing. It really does transform lives and helps get us prepared for when we go home. PEP motivates us and brings us together as a brotherhood. We want to be great men and achieve greatness; this PEP lifestyle is the way to go. The information we’ve received and the character building we’re engaged in are both super important to our lives moving forward.   

Jose G. (aka “Taylor Swift”)


Thursday                                                                                         April 4, 2024

Hello there! We had another really good day today in PEP, as always. We started off with a pray-in, which was really heartfelt. Then we had the Word of the Day: transformation. Our PEP brother Jacob G. shared that he had to transform to become the man he is today, and that it took a lot of work to transform both his mind and body. It was a great word of the day to say the least.

After that, we went over some of the new scripts dealing with market strategy and our upcoming competition, along with what specifically makes our company different. We got our new teams together and figured out which of us is going to be the operations, financial, and marketing guys. That was really cool to find out who we are going to be working with for the next couple of months. We are all excited to get started on our journey with our teammates to win this end-of-class Business Plan Competition (BPC). After that, we got together in groups to discuss some of the things we’ll need for our company, and we made sure to get some input from each team member too.

Then they called us out for lunch, so we went and ate. We returned to our pod (dorm) and waited to return to the classroom. However, we didn’t realize that this afternoon was a Clubhouse session for the guys who just graduated from the last class, so we stayed back in the pod and got caught up on our assignments. Overall it was a great day, and we cannot wait to have another one!

Humberto G. (aka “Pillsbury Doughboy”)


Friday                                                                                                April 5, 2024

Today was a very fun day and a great end to our week. We held our Big Idea Pitch event, and it was a full day of love, fun and growth. We started out in the PEP classroom turning in homework and praying in. Because we knew we did not have class, it was a little rowdy at first, but our emcees managed to get everyone seated and calmed down while they went over the agenda.

Next, we all got up and danced around the room to different genres of music. David C. (aka “PEP Jelly Roll”) blessed us with his rendition of “Tennessee Whiskey.” After that, the executives started arriving, and we got settled back down to start practicing our pitches to the first few executives to arrive. As this was going on, we started getting pictures taken. We all went and ate chow, came back and regrouped to transition over to the gymnasium.

Once we arrived at the gym, we were welcomed warmly, PEP style, into the pitching area. Shortly thereafter, we split into our quadrants and started pitching to 10 executives at a time. Once we pitched to the first group, we moved to the next quadrant and pitched to the next group of 10 executive volunteers. We gave it our all, fought the jitters and handled the task at hand. After all of that, we had one-on-one’s with as many executives as we could. It was a wonderful experience getting to visit with and receive feedback from strangers who showed so much care for and interest in us.

Finally, to wrap everything up, we heard testimony from four fellow participants and were introduced to three executives who were new to PEP. Then we prayed out, said our goodbyes to the executives and headed back to our pods. We all had a great day and are extremely grateful to be here. Thank you PEP!

Eric G. (aka “The Englishman”)



“People’s lives are forever controlled by two emotions: fear and greed.”

~ Robert T. Kiyosaki

I constantly work to control my thoughts and emotions. I’ve seen this play out over and over in my life: when my emotions go up, intelligence goes down. I’ve learned the truth and wisdom shared in this quote by the author of Rich Man, Poor Man. So much of life is out of our control. I’ve learned to focus on what I do have control over: myself. For things to change, first I must change. I have decided to be free and live life; I no longer allow my emotions to control me. I love my family; I will smile and be filled with joy because I know that this is important to me. If I don’t change, how would I be happy and successful and give my loved ones a foundation to build upon?

Every man wants to create a legacy and be remembered as a man who lived for his values, virtues, principles and family. The more I read books, the more I learn to be a better man so I can help my family by being a better person. Helping people helps me to be better. Loving others such as my family members will help me grow and learn to control my emotions.

A man’s capacity to think increases with his ability to control his emotions. If your emotions are under control, you will be more productive. With guidance and help from people who know how to handle what you’ve been through, you will never be alone.

Conrado G. (aka “Count Dracula”)

Week 3

Monday                                                                                             March 25, 2024

Hello today was a good day in class, starting with a pray-in. We had a volunteer executive come in today named Bruce T., who spoke about insurance straight out of the Living in the Village book, Chapter 4. Bruce T. is a very cool person because he taught us that insurance plans – including life insurance – are only good for a certain amount of time. He opened our eyes and showed us that most of the insurance plans can be scams, so we have to be careful which ones to pick. He also discussed car insurance types and the risk in investing money into cars that are going to drop in value in the next couple of years. Bruce T. also talked about health plans and the different payment options. We watched a couple of videos that discussed the topics that Bruce T. was talking about before he prayed us out. Bruce T. is a chaplain, so it was an amazing prayer. Then we all went to eat lunch.

When we came back, we had a fun activity: each participant got a picture of himself, and we each had to cut out the face and make a personal “Coat of Arms” that will go up on the wall in the PEP classroom. We pretty much got all the arts and craft supplies and chose what we wanted out of magazines to paste onto our poster as well. It really felt like we left prison for a good hour or two to be honest. We all had fun and are all coming out of our shells. Love and Fun are two of our awesome 10 Driving Values; you should really apply these to your life. Thanks to PEP, we get to enjoy all the great things this program offers!   

Alex C. (aka “Po from Kung Fu Panda”)


Tuesday                                                                                            March 26, 2024

The day began with a nervousness in the air. Tuesdays are test days out of our Entrepreneurship textbook, which has proven to be challenging. We began last week with a rocky start of our first tests over Chapters 1 and 2. All of us have been studying very hard for Chapters 3 and 4. Many of the PEP brothers have done a great job of displaying Servant-Leader Mentality (one of our 10 Driving Values) by not only leading but serving others by acting as tutors as well as students. It is safe to say that we are beginning to find a rhythm.

They called us out in groups to begin testing while the rest of us stayed behind for Toastmasters. Toastmasters is where we deliver speeches in front of our peers to help with professionalism as well as the art of public speaking. The room was divided in two to help Toastmasters run smoothly and efficiently so all 75 of us could get our turn. Some of the speeches were humorous and light-hearted while others were serious and full of emotion. After a while, the first round of test takers returned, and the nervousness began to lessen.

We wrapped up Toastmasters and began practicing delivering our business pitches, a minute to minute-and-a-half speech about our new business ideas. Many ideas were creative and innovative, while others showed passion, a sense of humor, and displayed the character of a budding entrepreneur. We are a proud brotherhood and help the next man whenever in need.

You can truly feel the love and support coming from many men of different ages and backgrounds. We represent the true definition of unity. We ended the day with a dance battle between two of the brothers which had us all rolling in laughter.

 Brandon C. (aka “Ted from Bill and Ted”)


Wednesday                                                                                      March 27, 2024

Today was a good day of class, as any other day. We prayed in and we began to do our business pitches, also known as elevator pitches. We have all gotten better with our elevator pitches since our first time delivering them. A lot of us aren’t as nervous as we once were, and we can all tell. We have become much more comfortable getting in front of people and presenting our pitches. We all have some pretty good pitches and have finished memorizing them; now we are beginning to put some flavor and personality into them.

Adam W. gave us some amazing constructive criticism after each participant pitched. We can all tell that he wants all of us to succeed when we get the opportunity to pitch in front of the executive volunteers, so he is pushing us to achieve our very best. Overall, it was a great day in class! We had a lot of laughs and enjoyed one another’s company. Although we were laughing, class was strictly about the business of bettering ourselves and our lives – we just had a good time doing it. We even had a visitor stop by today and bless us with his presence. His name was Brandon G. (aka “Swagger Wagon”), and he gave us a few insights on business and our business ideas. He also gave us some inspirational quotes that will make us want to keep going. Brandon G. was a very good motivational speaker and a pretty cool guy in general. He also showed us some motivational videos that will inspire us to keep going when things get tough.

Joshua C. (aka “Happy Feet”)


Thursday                                                                                         March 28, 2024

Today was a very educational day because we learned material from two different chapters out of the Entrepreneurship textbook. We also practiced going over our business pitches for a short time this morning before the lesson started. The first half of the day, volunteer Cindy V. came in to teach us material out of Chapter 5. She went over the importance of having a mission statement when seeking to start a successful business and the basic layouts. She also went over the steps when developing a list of your business’s assets and capabilities along with building a competitive advantage and a strategic plan analysis. She is an amazing person and a great teacher, and we deeply appreciated her taking the time out of her day to show us kindness and care, as well as teach us all that she covered.

The second half of the day, volunteer Carl B. came into the classroom to teach us a lesson about Chapter 11. This chapter was centered around all the aspects involving the marketing of a business. Developing a marketing plan and identifying who the target customers are is a big part of how successful a business will become. He showed us the different kinds of advertisement and promotion categories available when marketing to consumers. Carl B and Cindy V. are both amazing people, and we all agree that they have great knowledge and teaching methods. We also can’t wait to see them more often in the future.

It was a very eventful and knowledge-filled day in class. To all of our supporters, we want to say thank you for believing in us and all of your constant support.

Jonathan C. (aka “Frozone from Incredibles”)


Friday                                                                                               March 29, 2024

Although we did not have class today, we did have hold pitch panels on our pod. The pitch panels we had today focused specifically on pronunciation and adding personality to our pitches. It was awesome to watch my peers as they overcame their nervousness and actually extracted themselves from the shells that they are usually encased in. As men, we tend to be very nonchalant about performing certain acts, and by practicing, we are able to feel more secure about who we are and what we can offer to the world. The concept is not to be overtaken by the fear of adversity (in our case, stage fright). But we mustered the courage and fought through our fear. “Fear” stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. At the conclusion of our pitch panels, we were congratulated on our precision and promptness by our pod coach, Augustus F. He also touched on how amazing it is to have a variety of business ideas in one pod.

We eventually concluded our panels and went our separate ways to study for the upcoming tests. The particular test that has all of our attention is out of the entrepreneur textbook. We will be tested on Chapter 11 about marketing. Marketing is essential for any company that plans to generate enough income to operate and produce a profit.

We would like to give thanks to the individuals who pray for our success and continue to encourage us with support. We also want to leave our readers with this: success is knowing your purpose in life, growing to reach your potential and sowing seeds that benefit others.  

Coby C. (aka “Bubba Gump”)



“On the other side of terror,

on the other side of your maximum fear,

are all of the best things in life.”

~ Will Smith

When most people get scared, they “shut down” and think no one understands. The fact is that everyone gets scared because everyone is afraid of something. The only difference between someone who is “scared” and someone who is “brave” is the ability to make a choice. Choosing to do something or say something in the face of fear doesn’t make that fear go away or stop existing. It is simply looking that fear in the face and saying “so what?” Will Smith said this about his first-time skydiving. He was so scared, but after he jumped out of the plane he got to experience what it was like to fly. That is something that humans cannot do, nor do many of us ever get to experience.

Love is scary, but it can be beautiful once you open up and find “the one.”  Having kids is scary, but from my experience, being a father is the most amazing thing that life has to offer. Making, molding, shaping and growing that life can be one of the most fulfilling “jobs” in life. So the next time you are facing something scary – a job change, having a child, opening a business, going on a date, or even apologizing to someone you don’t think deserves it – remember that if you aren’t growing, you’re dying. Growing hurts sometimes, but even when you get scared of the pain or become afraid of what is to come, pause. Take a breath. Try to remove the fear, or at least look past the fear and see the good things that are to come from looking that fear in the face and saying “so what?”

 David C. (aka “Jelly Roll”)

Week 2

Monday                                                                                             March 18, 2024                                   

Today we began the first half of class with Bruce T., chaplain on the Estes Unit, who went over Chapter 3 in Living in the Village. He discussed in detail how to create and maintain a household budget – a very informative and useful topic covering spending, building wealth and saving. After his lecture, we took a test over Chapters 1 and 2 of the aforementioned book before we took a lunch break.

During the second half of class, we had another guest speaker: Tim H., Chief Administrative Officer of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program. Tim H. showed us a video of a Pitch Panel event that occurred outside prison involving the IronRod Steel company. That event is something we can look forward to when we are free and have a business that may need investment capital. He also introduced us to EntreCapital, which is an amazing opportunity for felons seeking a loan for their business. EntreCapital is a financial institution that provides loans only to individuals with felony convictions, which is quite contrary to other banks and investment companies! To obtain a loan, we will need to have collateral and some sort of “skin in the game.” EntreCapital is an amazing opportunity for those of us who need this type of assistance. After his presentation, Tim H. opened the floor for questions from those participants who wanted further information.

Then we received handouts with instructions on how to get started on creating our business plans, which will be stored on our H: drives and provided to us upon our release. From pray-in to pray-out, it was a fun, interactive and informative day for us to immerse ourselves in and another very successful day in PEP!

Grayson B. (aka “Darrell”)


Tuesday                                                                                            March 19, 2024

Today was a very busy day for us in PEP. Our class tested on Chapters 1 and 2 of the Entrepreneurship textbook by Charles Bamford and Gary Breton. It is the first Entrepreneurship test our class has taken, and you could feel the nervous excitement in the air. While some of us were testing in the computer lab, those remaining in the PEP room held Toastmasters in great and formal fashion. Participants were recorded on camera while they gave speeches into the microphone based on the Toastmasters Project One: “Icebreaker.” The main objective was to begin speaking in front of an audience and discover which public speaking skills they already had and which skills needed attention. Participants gave information about their background, interests and ambitions for a duration of four to six minutes. Following individual speeches, participants were given encouraging feedback to better our speaking abilities. While many of us were nervous, the end result was awesomeness.

To cap off a day full of energy, we were joined by Adam W., PEP’s In-Prison Manager to give us positive feedback on our elevator pitches and a few great laughs. The pitches were meant to be 45-90 seconds. These are the business ideas that in the near future we will be pitching to actual volunteer executives, so the effort we put into these pitches was really on display in each individual pitch that was delivered. It was a great atmosphere, and we all agree that in the coming weeks and months, it will be awesome to witness the growth and development that comes from all the practice.

PEP is all it was said to be and more! We are proud to be a part of it, and we know our families will be too.

Marcus Br. (aka “Morpheus”)


Wednesday                                                                                      March 20, 2024

We started improving our elevator pitches on the pod today, since we had just completed our “heart check” assignment. If you don’t know what a heart check is, it is when we have to copy pretty much the whole study guide three times. Due to us working so hard on completing our heart checks, we haven’t really been studying our business pitches, making for a rusty start to class. An “elevator pitch” is when you pitch your big business idea in a minute to minute-and-a-half, or the time it takes an elevator to reach the top floor of a building. We talk about our business, what makes our business different from other businesses and who our target customer is.

Later in the day, the Servant-Leaders came up with an idea to help us remember our pitches without reading them off the paper: the “Pitch Panel,” which means we have to stand in front of everybody and tell them our business pitch. It actually helped, so when we do go in front of the executive volunteers, we will be confident and able to express the passion we have for our big ideas for new businesses we would like to start. Everyone in the dorm in the current class stepped up and gave their pitch for all the Servant-Leaders, and we all remembered our pitches with no problems. This was a new experience for most of us, and we were all very proud of our brothers for their courage and hard work. We are confident that with the help of the Servant-Leaders and executive volunteers, we will be ready for the “Big Idea” Pitch competition which is right around the corner. This is the event that will determine which business ideas are selected and have a chance at winning the final competition in June.

Edwin B. (aka “Yogi Bear”)


Thursday                                                                                         March 21, 2024

Today we had one of our PEP volunteers, Carl B., speak to our class. He was very informative about Chapters 3 and 4 in our Entrepreneurship textbook, properly preparing us for our upcoming test next week. Carl B. gave us some insight on sales generation, gap analysis and ways to identify gaps – and that was all in Chapter 3. In covering Chapter 4, we discussed how to examine the industry, create a profile of targeted customers for a new business and create competitive advantages. Carl B. explained to us the importance of putting together a competitive map, as well as the importance of industry trends, company evaluations of resources and capabilities. We discussed normal (or ordinary) competitive factors. Carl B. also shared stories of his own success and how he did well with the Ivory Soap company.

We are all blessed to have these executive volunteers giving back to each and every one of us by taking time out of their busy lives to teach us a better way. If we hang on to all this knowledge these volunteers are teaching us, we will not only prosper financially but also as better men, leaders, valuable members of our future community creating not only changed men, but changed family’s. We where very happy to have Carl B. We were glad to hear that he would be teaching us in our next class where his knowledge is greatly appreciative in preparations of our next test.

David B. (aka “Olaf from Frozen”)


Friday                                                                                               March 22, 2024

Today we started with a pitch panel that was challenging for many of us. The pitch panel is when each individual in a group is designated to pitch their business idea in front of the entire class. In doing so, we learned the importance of communication and two of PEP’s 10 Driving Values: Innovation, where we expect dramatic change; and Execution, where we place an emphasis on the ability to get things done. As a result of this pitch panel, many of us were able to overcome our fear of public speaking, seeing the challenge as an opportunity to cultivate our communication and leadership skills.

Our pitch panel was followed by a BetterMan presentation about what it takes to create a better man in addition to the power of words relating to how we speak, decision making and the significance in how we can recreate our “Story.” Even though we all made mistakes, our mistakes are part of our story to redemption in creating our legacy. We also developed a discussion during the BetterMan presentation series on how to identify ourselves with positive words of affirmation, taking into account that the words we speak can be influential and/or detrimental.

Recognizing key elements and key character traits that play a major part in shaping our manhood, we need to examine our past, which is a crucial step to a “better man” mentality. Without examination, the good from our past can go unappreciated and the bad can unconsciously rule over us.    

Marcus B. (aka “E.T.”)



“It does not matter who you are (or) where you come from.

The ability to triumph begins with you – always.”

~ Oprah Winfrey

I resonate with this quote because I am a firm believer that we are not 100% products of our environment. It does not matter where we come from – it doesn’t keep us from reaching our full potential, but our mindset and the limitations we put on ourselves can definitely limit us from achieving our full potential. I grew up thinking that I had to be a certain way or talk a certain way because that’s what I observed in those around me. It was not until my early 20s that I became enlightened and had a paradigm shift: if I wanted to be a better person or a better father, it all started with me. And also when it came to how I viewed others, I realized that they had no control over my decisions or how I responded to circumstances that were uncomfortable.

Despite being in prison, I know that I have the power to become the person my dad would be proud of. It lies solely with me to change the course of my life and make better decisions so that my son does not follow in my footsteps that lead to incarceration. It is in my power to teach my son that any triumph in life begins with him. I will be victorious in everything that I do and reserve the glory for God, who has opened my eyes to the false ideologies of our society.        

Javier C. (aka “Aladdin”)


Week 1

Monday                                                                                             March 11, 2024                                   

Today may have changed our perspective on most people’s least favorite day of the week when we got to hang out with and learn from Mr. Rogers himself, Chaplain Bruce T.! Bruce T. was our volunteer speaker and financial guru on the Estes Unit, teaching Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University as well as being a regular guest speaker and PEP volunteer. Some of us had the privilege of taking his Financial Peace University class last month, so it was particularly exciting to see him show up in class today.

Bruce T.’s passion is to teach us the importance of understanding our personal finances. His curriculum for PEP revolves around the book Living in the Village by Ryan Mack. We will be reading the book, as well as working through a workbook that corresponds with each of Bruce T.’s lessons. He also briefly touched on his favorite of PEP’s 10 Driving Values, while also telling us the importance of work ethic and living within one’s means. We look forward to many more life-changing lessons from Bruce T.!

To wrap up our Monday, PEP brothers Daniel W. (aka “Steve Wilcox”) and Robie L. (aka “Forrest Gump”) gave us a lot to think about in terms of being receptive to criticism in order to effect positive change in our lives and characters. They were kind enough to point out quite a few examples of negative behavior, as well as contrasting examples of positive ways we could change those behaviors, enabling us to take the steps necessary to begin our journeys toward becoming better men, both individually and as a brotherhood.

Chris A. (aka “Scarecrow”)


Tuesday                                                                                            March 12, 2024

Today we had the day off, which was welcome only because this week we need to complete our “3-3-3” assignment, and we have only have two class days left! When we get an off day in PEP, that doesn’t mean it is time to relax – we need to stay busy doing our 3-3-3s. Some of us are close to finishing while others are struggling with the mountain of work and lamenting sore hands, but all of us are doing our best to stay positive and not give up. Our Servant Leaders (PEP graduates assigned to help our class) are doing their best to motivate us by letting us know they have been in our shoes. As they say, “If they can do it, so can we!” We all have different methods of completing the extensive 3-3-3 writing assignment, but it just comes down to personal preference; regardless of the method, we are doing a lot of writing! Two days in, and already this program is pushing us to our limits.

While doing the 3-3-3s, we still have other assignments to complete and class sessions to attend, so if you are not mentally prepared, all of this can be quite a challenge. While the temptation to quit is there, we have to uplift our new brothers and remind them of all we went through to get here and how important it is to take full advantage of this opportunity and not give up! It wouldn’t mean just giving up on the program, but giving up on ourselves, our loved ones and our peers who have believed in us – so we must finish what we have started. We must make it to the end and graduate so our loved ones who have seen us at our worst will have the opportunity to see us in a brand-new light as changed men!

We will cross the finish line and we will succeed – we’ve got this!

Adolph A. (aka “Chris Cheesy”)



Wednesday                                                                                      March 13, 2024

Today we did not expect to have class due to TDCJ’s audit happening at Estes, but our In-Prison Manager Adam W. found a way to come and get us around 9 a.m., so everyone had to get ready in a hurry! After we did our daily pray-in, we saw two videos that inspired us with a very spiritual message, followed by a short discussion about the videos.

Then we had a PEP staff member named Mi L. (aka “The Silent Assassin”) come in and explain aspects of the computer testing system: mainly how to log in and how we can get our scores. We also had some questions, and she was very helpful in answering them all. We want to thank her for her time, effort, patience and for doing a great job instructing us on how to do our best when test time comes. Eventually we did our pray-out and returned to the dorms.

We are in our final day of work for the 3-3-3 assignment, so we have no time to waste! As soon as we got back we went right to work on it, and by the end of the day we all felt a sense of triumph because WE DID IT! Because we got so focused and bonded as a team in completing PEP’s “heart check,” we now feel strong and united as a team, ready to take on the next chapter in our journey. Proverbs 13:4 says, “A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” This proverb explains exactly how the scripture helped us get through the 3-3-3s and on to an exciting new chapter in our PEP lives.

Andres C. (aka “Tazmanian Devil”)


Thursday                                                                                         March 14, 2024         

Today was very intense due to it being the last day of our 3-3-3 assignments, having Ramadan early in the morning, as well as having class. We are all excited because God has truly put us into great positions to become better people by improving our character and developing our leadership skills. We also got in front of class today and took turns speaking, which will help us to break out of our shells. Chaplain Bruce T. (aka “Mr. Rogers”) has also done a great job helping us to improve critical thinking skills to reinforce our new way of life and help ensure we never fall back into old ways of thinking.

We have also been talking a lot about the 10 Driving Values, because if a man truly comprehends these values and applies them to his life, there is no limit on the greatness that man can achieve in his life. The golden thread that runs through the 10 Driving Values is LOVE! If a man learns to love himself, he will in turn learn to love others, appreciate the small things in life and treasure every hour we have with our loved ones and families. We are very grateful that a man like Bruce T. is eager to come in and share his time and wisdom with us – two very precious resources. One nugget of financial wisdom he has given us is the concept of an emergency fund, which is having six months of living expenses in a savings account which will allow us to have security in hard times and not resort to predatory lending or high interest credit cards.

We are very grateful for all PEP is pouring into us and look forward to all that the program has to offer us!

Jamal A. (aka “Geico Lizard”)


Friday                                                                                               March 15, 2024

If it was not already evident that things would be moving along very fast in this program, then by the time class was over today, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind! After all, we were just one day removed from a trying week, during which many of us spent every waking hour toiling over our 3-3-3s. For those of you who don’t know, a “3-3-3” is a writing assignment that is an exercise in mental toughness, not to mention forearm endurance. By the time one is finished with it, it is liable to have you conjuring up thoughts like, “I wonder if they’d just let me opt out for an actual 26.2-mile marathon where I can use all of my muscles, because that would be much easier.” Despite the challenge, our class rose to the occasion and got ‘er done.

Still, there was no time to revel in our sense of accomplishment because today, there was a fresh set of challenges to face: first on the agenda was Toastmasters, an international professional organization that helps people get over their fear of public speaking. Our topic for the day was the “Icebreaker” speech, which was a speech about ourselves so that our classmates could get to know us better, but it was also a way for us to break the ice into the intimidating world of speaking in front of an audience.

After that, we heard a lecture based on our entrepreneurship textbook by executive volunteer Scott S., who owns his own financial planning business. Finally, at the end of the day, we held an impromptu pitch panel where some of us were given the opportunity to practice our “elevator pitch” for the upcoming Big Idea Pitch event in April.

Today was a long, eventful day that took all of us out of our comfort zones. The most beautiful part of it all is having our PEP brothers there to encourage us along the way!

Chase C. (aka “Smeagle”)



“Every moment is a fresh beginning.”

~ T.S. Eliot


This quote means a great deal to me deep within myself. I like to think this moment is PEP – a fresh beginning – and it is truly an exciting feeling. It is no longer just “I” but “we,” referencing the new community we have joined. “Every moment is a fresh beginning” sounds like being reborn, issued a blank slate with God in my heart and a clean, sober mind. Taking steps on a different path, I walk on now, growing into this new beginning and fresh opportunity to change in order to create a better man, father, brother, uncle, cousin … a better generation.

I constantly used to ask myself, “Have I gone too far? Have I reached the point of no return?” These are the things a person in our circumstances thinks about. Moments are everlasting, and our minds grasp moments and carry our memories with us. Life’s every moment is a gift. Today’s class covered the subject of manhood and becoming better men, and I believe this quote perfectly expresses that every man in the classroom has the opportunity for a fresh start in PEP.

The inspiration I get from this quote is tremendous. To take the necessary leap toward a fresh start, today I volunteered to speak in front of the class. In that moment, with my heart jumping out of my chest, I realized how truly reborn I felt. In the dorm, we did “group 360s,” and one of the key words used was “consistency” because being consistent in each and every moment helps show us the potential fresh beginnings can provide.

Marcus A. (aka “Sebastian from The Little Mermaid”)