Week 21

Week in Review

Monday March 4, 2019

The class of Redeemed ’19 has overcome and conquered many obstacles throughout our long journey. Everything that was placed in our path we accomplished. The men we once used to be are no longer with us. We are redeemed! Our character has been developed. We crushed many college courses on business and exceeded expectations in test scores. We overcame the prison mentality of the macho man character that we used to have to own. Now we embrace each other, bringing care and helpful character traits to our brothers. Never did we think that we would grow to care for one another the way we do now. This is because we have grown so much together! Some of us have never been able to speak in front of people we did not know, let alone an audience of executives! We watched each other grow in amazement as our brothers delivered tremendous business pitches with ease to executives. This feeling is amazing. As we see one of our brothers go before a panel of executives, we are all nervous and excited for him because we are all on the same path, rooting him on and hoping that he knocks it out the ballpark.

We stand together as one… redeemed. We are no longer lost and afraid of failing. We now know that if we fail, we have to get back up – and we will get back up! Our brotherhood will not let us fail. There will always be an outstretched hand waiting to help one another get back up. This is Redeemed 2019!                       

Jonathan G. (a.k.a. “Huggies”)

Tuesday March 5, 2019

Today we as a class are edging closer to graduation. We all can feel the eagerness of that long journey coming to a close. It’s been a long nine months, but this Friday graduation is here! We practiced our graduation walk. We have done it so many times, I’m sure it will go well. After rehearsing again today, our whole class listened to each one of us go in front of our class and practice our pitches. We have come so far as a class and as brothers. It still gets me nervous to speak in front of the class while everybody is paying such close attention, but you can tell how far we have come. All of us have been thinking about how good the feeling is going to be to walk the stage and get our certificate and diploma. It’s going to be a great feeling. Hopefully our family will be there, but if not it’s cool because we’ve got each other. We are family – we’re brothers.

Everything is pretty much winding down now. After this week, the Phase One participants will be transitioning into Phase Two, and we will transition into Phase Three to be Servant-Leaders. We will get to see the next group grow. It will be an amazing transformation.

Now to get ready for the last day before the Business Plan Competition! – it hasn’t been an easy path for any of us, but I’m definitely glad I got the chance to take the journey and that I stuck with it. See you on the other side. We are PEP!

Jarrod G. (a.k.a. “Wichita Falls”)

Wednesday March 6, 2019

Today was a very busy day for Redeemed ’19. We started out with six pray-outs for the PEP brothers who have been blessed to go home, back to society and to their loved ones. We are always happy to see our brothers leave because it only reminds us that our time will also be here soon! Another blessing we received through the PEP management today was a movie. We got to see Creed II for the first time. We are definitely excited and ready for the next two days.

Tomorrow is the Business Plan Competition event, and we have been working hard to perfect our business pitches for about a month now. May the best man win! I know we are going to do what Redeemed ’19 does best tomorrow, and that’s shine. On Friday the bittersweet reward that we’ve been waiting so long for: graduation day! Bitter because the class is over, but sweet because our perseverance will have finally paid off. We will have the opportunity to walk across the stage in cap and gown and in the presence of executives, friends, and family members. We can’t wait, and it’s going to be an emotional day for many of us.

This Prison Entrepreneurship Program was a blessing and an awesome experience that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. I thank God for the opportunity. Now it’s time for Redeemed ’19 to step up as the Servant-Leaders we are and help the next class, Legendary ’19, shine brighter than we did. As Servant-Leaders, we will lead to see others succeed! God bless.

Antonio G. (a.k.a. “Slim Fast”)

Thursday March 7, 2019

We had a lot of preparation going into today’s Business Plan Competition event. Our entire six months of fast-paced, college-level curriculum was about to pay off!

The breakfast with the executives really set the tone. The atmosphere was electric with anticipation, nerves and, of course, excitement. As we devoured our breakfast, everyone got up to get seconds with no hesitation. With full bellies and focused minds, we all grouped up, said a prayer and reported to our assigned panel – the time was now! As we split up into groups, our Servant-Leaders (past graduates) directed traffic, facilitated and, best of all, encouraged us. We received our business plan packets filled with our entire accumulation of market research, personal essay, and financials along with a plethora of other essential information. All this will aid us in translating our idea to the eager executives.

The Servant-Leader assigned to our group of eight participants introduces each of us and reviews the rules: the top two participants will be selected out of each group and move on to the semifinals. Once we all have recited our business plan pitches, we eagerly wait for the results to be tallied up. We take this exciting moment to eat and refresh our nerves and brains from all the excellent feedback that executives provided. Twenty minutes into our bacon cheeseburgers – a rare delicacy in our habitat – we learn who the semifinalists are. Sixteen men are congratulated and get ready once again! The pressure is on. We support our brothers and speculate on who the final four will be, and once again have another night of restless sleep to prepare for the final showdown and, of course, graduation.

Bryndan G. (a.k.a. “Happy Feet”)


“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path

and leave a trail.”

 ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Throughout my life, I’ve never really been a leader. I’ve always been the guy who follows the crowd and does what everyone else does, but that has never played out very well for me. I always found myself leaning toward doing whatever it takes to impress and please the ones I looked up to, which always put me in situations that I shouldn’t have been in. Once I realized the destructive path I was on, I removed myself from it.

If you’re following a path and being led by someone with bad motives – or they just don’t have the direction in their life that’s needed to be a leader themselves – then it will never turn out well. One true leader once told me that in order to be a good leader, you must first be led by someone. Over time, I’ve developed leadership skills to help me leave a trail for others to follow. In order to develop these traits however, I had to experience a lot of failures and setbacks. But through it all, I’ve put myself in the position to help guide others so at some point they too can start leaving a trail for others to follow and become true Servant-Leaders. This quote will stick with me forever, and I hope at some point I’m able to pass it on.

Ricky H. (a.k.a. “Ricky Bobby”)