Monday, May 27, 2019
Today we did not have class because it is Memorial Day. I began my day at 7:30 a.m., reading my entrepreneurship textbook to refresh my memory for the day, when some PEP brothers and I got together to practice our Business Plan Competition pitches. We made our way to the rec yard to exercise and get some fresh air and sunshine. Around 10:30 a.m., we made our way back indoors and got cleaned up and went to lunch. After lunch we worked together on Living in the Village and took turns reading the last three chapters to help one another.
At 1:30 p.m., a couple of brothers and I were in a book club session in which we read and brainstormed “Shark Tank” and “The Million Dollar Man.” At 3:30 p.m., we got together with the rest of J-pod and held one of three Toastmaster groups in which I spoke about “My Quest for Manhood.” It lasted six minutes and forty-three seconds, and I was almost clapped down. The gist of the story was about my attitude and way of thinking before and throughout my incarceration until one day, when I woke up and decided my life was more important than the way I was spending it. I decided to better myself by further my education as much as possible. PEP and the character assessment phase is the greatest program I have ever been a part of. Afterwards, my brothers and I got together to throw a holiday meal together.
Tommy M. (a.k.a. “Kelis”)
Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Today in class, we facilitators were helping out with the next class. We went in at 7 a.m. and stayed until 11 a.m., then we went back to help out from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. We really enjoyed helping out the next class. It’s just crazy to us that we see these guys in the chairs, watching Robert Lewis, because we remember being in that position just four months earlier. These guys are really into the program so far. I know that some might fall short, but as long as we do our jobs and encourage them and keep pushing them, they will make it through. I don’t know what it is about that Robert Lewis video, but it always reminds us about the life goals we have ahead of us. Doing these groups with these new guys after the video was pretty cool, because we are meeting new brothers and hearing their stories as they are hearing ours, and we can help build each other up more when we know more about each other.
During the second half of class for Phase One, David F. brought us a couple of photos of an experience he had with his pastor at a local McDonald’s. This young homeless woman showed up and overheard them talking about God, and she asked them if they were talking about God. So she started to tell them her story and the situation she’s been in. She told them that she wanted to accept Jesus into her life, but she is mixed up with the “Santa Muerte” and didn’t know how to let go. So David and the pastor started to pray for her, and then out of nowhere she started to hiss like a snake and her eyes rolled back into her head and turned all the way white. She was trapped by this beast, and it was fighting not to leave her body. Thank God David and his pastor are strong believers and released that demon from her body through the power of Christ.
Today made a big impact on us for the simple fact that we are actually allowing ourselves to change and to know that we are on this side of the fence; we see things that we didn’t see before. God bless you guys.
Xavier M. (a.k.a. “Snooki”)
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
We came to the PEP room today at 7:30 a.m. The first thing we did was turn in our homework from our names test and our entrepreneurship homework. We also turned in our extra credit homework for our Chapter Seven test and got our name tags. After that, Kanon V. had the honor to pray us into class, and then Joseph L. said the word of the day. After Abraham S. danced to the front of the room, it was finally time for the moment that we all either were waiting for or dreading: it was time to take our Chapter Seven entrepreneurship test.
After that, we all took a survey about our addictions and our past as well as our future, which took us about 30 minutes to complete. It really helped us figure out where we are in life; it was a very interesting survey. Then they passed out our Competent Communications papers for our final four speeches. We followed that up with finishing up Living in the Village. We received our homework assignment, which is to complete our brochures for our final Business Plan Competition event. We also did pray outs for our fellow PEP brothers Lorenzo M., Justin P. and Jeromy B. We wished them the best of luck out there in the free world, and after that was over with we did “issues and tissues” to help correct any mistakes the test graders made on our tests. Lastly, we finally got to receive our Crime and Punishment books, which is a good sign because it means we are almost done with everything.
Michael Mon. (a.k.a. “Cardi B”)
Thursday, May 30, 2019
Today in class we learned how to use PowerPoint presentations and how to insert graphics and pictures into our presentations. We believe it’s important to learn this skill, due to the fact that it will help organize and build project management skills. After that, we had the privilege to learn about financial literacy. During that process, we learned about smart investments in stocks and bonds. We learned how important it is to have a diversified portfolio versus taking too much of a risk. We spoke of the importance of hiring a financial advisor with the appropriate credentials to avoid predatory professionals. Most importantly, we covered the do’s and don’ts of financial responsibilities.
We also did a lesson from our Toastmasters’ Competent Communications manual. During this lesson, we focused on how we use our volume and how to implement body language to move and get the crowd involved. This lesson to me is very important because it builds confidence in my ability to relay my message.
Out of all of the things we’ve learned in PEP, our 10 Driving Values are one of the strongest parts of our foundation. We incorporate these into our everyday living, which in return will make us stronger and more productive citizens in society. For gentlemen like us, the re-entry process is very crucial. Finally, the fraternity of the brotherhood that we personally have acquired has given us the insight to be able to embrace growth as a whole. We are proud of our community and we plan to continue to step into the depths of greatness.
Michael Moo. (a.k.a. “Spice Girl”)
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
Looking back on this Scripture, this is very instrumental in helping me grow and strive to be the man that God has called me to be. This is automatic inspiration, because knowing that if we stay connected to the source and fulfill all of God’s commandments, we shall receive the desires of our hearts. Taking God’s Word for what it really is has helped me grow tremendously. I don’t talk the way I use to talk or act the way I use to act, because I know that I have an awesome Creator up above that has a hedge of protection over me, guiding me along the way. I am able to overcome any obstacle that I may face because I have the righteous One on my side. I don’t have to revert back to the way I used to handle situations, because if God is for me, then who could be against me?
PEP has also helped me transition into a better me and has enabled me to live out PEP’s 10 Driving Values. A Servant-Leader follows through with the commitments he has made for his life. A Servant-Leader joins a small group of men who are dedicated to improving their skills as men, husbands and fathers. I want to be that man, and with the help of my peers and a faith that is strong, I know that I can make it.
Lorenzo M. (a.k.a. “Spaghetti Sauce”)