Week in Review
Monday June 17, 2019
Monday started off with a pray-in as all days do, and from there we jumped right in and got started with Toastmasters, which is our Monday routine. A couple of brothers stood out to me as they spoke today. Carnell A. had spoke about how in the beginning of PEP, he was thinking that he was ready for anything, but come to find out he wasn’t as ready as he thought he was. The title of his speech was “Now I’m Ready.” He went on to explain what steps he had to take to get prepared. I am proud of Carnell A.!
After Carnell A. spoke, Estevan H. got up and spoke about the recent event called “Day with Dad.” He spoke about how his step-son came to spend the day with him instead of his actual dad. He went on to explain how the day went and that it was an awesome day. Once Estevan H. was finished giving his speech, Tyson T. spoke and about his father and how he was both drunk and abusive. He told us that his dad would take him and his sister to the skating rink, drop them off and forget to pick them back up, so they would be forced to walk home from there. It was a very sad story. Most of the speeches were inspiring and motivational. There were also six birthdays today! – we had one special birthday where our peer educator, Michael L., had four of classmates sing him “Happy Birthday” – it was really funny.
As the day wound down, they made us finish our vision boards and made the other people who were finished with their boards practice their pitches for the upcoming event at the end of this month. All in all, it was a very productive day.
Dwight S. (a.k.a. “Apu”)
Tuesday June 18, 2019
What we get to do on Tuesdays is pretty cool and a really huge privilege. We have the opportunity to give back and help others. We get to be a true example of what it is to be a “Servant-Leader.”
There are two phases we go through here in PEP. Phase One, which is the character development phase and Phase Two, the business development phase. You must successfully complete Phase One to advance to Phase Two. Not only do you advance to the next phase, but you also gain responsibility. You see, here in PEP, we are somewhat responsible for each other. We look out for the best interest of one another and help each other in any way possible: “I am my brother’s keeper.” One way we get to express this is on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when the men that are in Phase Two go in and help lead and teach the new men that are in Phase One, who are the new participants to the program. We get to pass down the PEP culture and teach them our 10 Driving Values: “Fresh Start” Outlook, Servant-Leader Mentality, Love, Innovation, Accountability, Integrity, Execution, Fun, Excellence and Wise Stewardship. We not only teach them, but we also show them how to live them out in our daily walk. We watch a video series, Quest for Authentic Manhood by Robert Lewis, that helps us understand who we are and why we are the way we are. We then break into small groups and discuss some of the underlining issues that may have hindered us in the past and learn how to overcome them together.
More importantly, we learn how to trust and grow as brothers. Daily we are helping each other to become the husbands, fathers and men that we have longed to become. After the Robert Lewis videos we come back to a full class setting and learn about our 10 Driving Values and what it looks like to be totally lacking, balanced or way overboard. We then give our testimonies so that we can learn a little bit about one another and see that we’re really not all that different from each other. At the closing of the day, we have a tradition to give out “fun” names, which are nicknames for each other. These are to help break away the hardness that we’ve been carrying around, and we do a little dancing to end the day with laughter and smiles.
Johnny S. (a.k.a. “Cowboy”)
Wednesday June 19, 2019
On Wednesday morning as we entered the classroom, everyone had their game faces on. This day was test day and we all knew it – all the hard work and studying we did over the past week was about to pay off for those who studied. After everyone arrived and turned in their extra credit, we prayed in and read the word of the day, which is always encouraging. Introductions were made, then the time came to “face the library.” It was time to test. The first test was our weekly entrepreneurship test over Chapter 12. We had 25 minutes to take this one. The next test was the pop quiz over the next chapter in the entrepreneurship textbook. These two tests were really simple, as long as you studied.
Our class is very intelligent in my opinion; we persevere through everything life throws at us as a unit. We are brothers, and that’s why we are able to call ourselves Legendary; we say it with pride. The third test and final test was a pop quiz over Integrity Selling, which was very easy. The class test average was in the 80s, which was great. Another great part about today was the fact that the janitors got a great surprise by getting a brand new vacuum cleaner. As we watched them put it together, we all wondered how many peer educators it takes to put a vacuum cleaner together. The answer is more than four apparently.
Lastly, to more serious matters, today some of the brothers gave a pitch to try and get their families assistance to come to graduation. The pitches were three to five minutes and had to be about why they needed help and how much it meant to them for their people to come; it was a very humbling and touching experience. This program means the world to us. One of the greatest moments that we have not yet experienced is seeing our families come to watch us all walk across that stage, which will be the proudest moment we will ever have. All in all, it was a great day, another one in the books and most importantly we’re one more day closer to graduating.
Johnathan S. (a.k.a. “Smeagol”)
Thursday June 20, 2019
Today in class we shared our thoughts about what motivates us and how motivations can change our lives for the better. We watched a video about a college football player that was going to go pro at the end of his college career, until a small tackle he made changed his life forever. It turned out that he was paralyzed on his right arm and that he would never be able to play football again. This brother’s testimony was really powerful because he explained how God allows things to happen to us that make no sense whatsoever, but end up working out in then end in ways that could only show His glory and power.
There was one point in his testimony where he said that there are people who are tired of people “preaching” a sermon and would rather see a person “live” a sermon. That quote really had a huge impact on me because I have seen too many people quick to preach and slow to live it out. Not only did it impact a lot of us, but there were a lot of guys who were convicted themselves because we have all been guilty of the same thing at one time or another. It is so important to stay motivated in life because the moment you lose interest in living, that is when trouble comes. We are thankful to be in a program that inspires and motivates us on a daily basis, because we will then take these motivations and inspire our families and other people that we will come in contact with once we are released. What a blessing PEP is to us and our families. We couldn’t be more prepared to live life to the fullest.
Kevin T. (a.k.a. “Sammy Davis Jr.”)
“No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you come from, you can always become a better version of yourself.”
This quote was said by Madonna and stands out to me because of my past. It inspires me to always strive for more. Even when you meet a goal or if you face obstacles and fall short, you have to take the proper steps to go further. For me, I know I can’t settle for what I have or who I am because I will become comfortable, and that will make me complacent. I can be grateful for whatever I have or accomplish, but there are new levels I can always reach. There is no limit to what one can do, but as humans we put limits on ourselves because of our history. With drive and motivation, we can accomplish much more than what we think. We can’t put a cap on ourselves because of what other people have done before.
Knowledge is forever, meaning no one will ever learn all there is to know. There are too many areas in life to have it all mastered, but we should not let that stop us from becoming the best we can be. Always work toward bettering yourself, your circumstances, wealth, health and relationships. We have control of our lives so we must renew our hearts and minds continuously to get where we want to be. And after that, we can set new goals to strive for.
There is always more of whatever it is that you want. Different levels to life and success keep me going toward becoming a better man. Don’t let anyone or anything limit you because you can always be a better person. One day at a time, we are all changing and improving, so keep on persevering through whatever life throws at you.
Tyson T. (a.k.a. “Dr. Evil”)