Week in Review

Monday, June 29, 2020

Being incarcerated has proven to be a difficult adjustment. Most of our days used to be spent wastefully on watching TV, playing games and displaying negative behavior. Joining PEP was a life-changing decision. Since arriving here, PEP instantly changed the way we behave. Our program is a wonderful program that allows us to embrace change while learning. We learn who we are on the inside; we learn how to be authentic men through Robert Lewis; and we also learn key components to running a business through an entrepreneurial workbook as well as developing a business plan for the end-of-class competition. PEP has 10 Driving Values that we learn to live out in our daily lives.

The world around us is constantly changing, and PEP is here to help us adapt to these changes. PEP also offers additional education after our release to help us further our business knowledge. Choosing to join PEP has turned out to be a great decision for most of us. I can honestly say that without it, we’re not sure where we would be right now. We are very grateful for this opportunity and will collectively demonstrate everything we have learned to make a positive impact on our communities upon release.

PEP staff and executives care and donate so much of their time and effort to our program. They are always positive and give us great feedback and direction. We look forward to giving back to the program and working with PEP in the world. Thank you PEP for this life-changing program.  

Leo P. (a.k.a. “Little Sweet Dandelion”)

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

During this time of confusion, a lot of us have become worried about our families. We try to stay as busy as possible and focus on other things besides what is going on beyond these walls. We all keep pushing forward and praying for the best. We are all still studying and are learning all that we can, even though we do not have the volunteers coming in. We are all hopeful that they will be able to come back soon.

It is disappointing that we are unable to receive the full PEP experience, but the graduates have helped us to keep striving for better, motivating us to continue with the program. We are all pushing forward even though we are in unsure times concerning our graduation, Baylor certificates and how our future is going to look in the program. A lot of this is disappointing, but we are still moving forward, trying to stay grounded in the values we have been taught.

A lot of our brothers have gone home and that keeps us motivated as well, knowing that our time will come soon. We all want to be home with our families and look forward to that day with zeal. In here, we support each other and try to keep each other focused on what is in front of us, and not focus on the worry that can consume us if we let it. Thanks to everyone who has supported us through this difficult time in our lives. To our families, our leaders, our brothers: you all mean a great deal to us and will be the reason we succeed in what we do.

Juan Q. (a.k.a. “Kung Fu Panda”)

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

What does PEP mean to us during this difficult situation? First, PEP is a character development program no matter what the situation may be. PEP always pushes us to become better men. PEP has changed all of us in the class of Epic 2020. It has helped us define the real struggles that we may not have been able to see until they were brought to our attention. It has helped us all in different ways, but in this difficult time it has taught us to stay focused on the bigger picture. The Servant-Leaders have pushed us not to give up and have made sure we were staying busy with the curriculum. They are always helping us to be better men, and they do it out of love. PEP has helped us to live out our lives with the 10 Driving Values. We have done our absolute best to live out these values and show our families and all those who have supported us that we are serious about change.

PEP has been a wonderful experience, despite the situation we are in today. The leaders and the executives really came through for us with their hard work and the executive videos. It is our hope that things will get back to normal, but in the end, we will continue to strive for success with all that we have learned here. Thank you all for what you have done for us here in PEP.

Albert R. (a.k.a. “Dirty Mariachi”)

Thursday, July 2, 2020

PEP is more than a “class” or “program.” PEP is a lifestyle, a brotherhood and a family. During this difficult time, we have grown even stronger as brothers. We are doing our best to stay positive during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the world and the Unit may be shutting down, PEP is still growing strong inside these walls. We are continuously working on our assignments and our business pitches. The Servant-Leaders have all stepped up to help all of us in Phase Two. They give up their time to help us with our business plans and pitches. Without all of our Servant-Leaders’ help, there is no way we would be able to continue moving forward.

Our class may have gotten the short end of the stick, but we have taken what we have been given and turned it into a positive. It would have been easy for us to quit or give up. The fact that we did not speaks volumes about our character and determination. The fact that we have not had any events hasn’t gotten us down. We are pushing forward and will finish what we started. All the guys that are in PEP are great men. We have formed lifelong friendships. Real friendships. These are men we can count on, men you can trust to do what they say they will. So, even though we haven’t had the full PEP experience, we are strong – we are dedicated – we are Epic 2020! 

Jory R. (a.k.a. “White Mike Tyson”)

Expressions                                                                                     

“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”

This quote that I chose to write about means that no matter how much you give your time and best efforts to help another brother out – physically, emotionally, or even just giving another brother leads and tips on how to be successful in life – this doesn’t mean he will do anything with it. All you can do is show someone the way and the knowhow. But at the end of the day, it is up to the other person to take advantage of the opportunities in front of him.

It is like when I got my PEP postcard, it said to mail back within seven days and no later. And I did, then PEP responded with an application to fill out. And this application was not an easy one. It said I had two weeks to send it back. Upon receiving the application, they said they would notify us if we were approved for the Prison Entrepreneurship Program. The application also came with all the rules of the program, along with what the program wants from us. Basically saying “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” You can only control the things you do in your life, and not the things other people do in their lives. So don’t be discouraged if you try to help others, but at the end of the day it turns out they don’t want to be helped. Just make sure you keep your eye on the goal for yourself.

Jose R. (a.k.a. “Sweet Empanada”)