Week in Review

Monday, July 20, 2020

The world is reeling from COVID-19, and everyday our families and loved ones are at risk. But as a people, as a country, we will not quit. The ingenuity of man will overcome this, and this whole world is fighting together. Our very own PEP program is fighting together, and my PEP brothers and I know the hardships this has brought. But we know that there is no greater obstacle to success in life than waiting around for something to turn up, rather than getting to work to turn up something.

Our PEP walk has been much different than that of past classes, but this doesn’t mean we can’t strive to fulfill the passion of our pioneering spirit. We have used our time wisely, investing in the leadership opportunities and expanding our knowledge in entrepreneurial wisdom. We are digging deep to get the most that we can from our class, and we couldn’t have gotten here without the great support of our PEP executives, who took time out of their stressful lives to help continue our education. We all know we are blessed to have the type of support system that PEP is offering, and we can’t wait to experience the love the program offers when we are released. This virus won’t last forever, and regardless, my PEP brothers and I will keep “living between the wings.”

Jeffrey T. (a.k.a. “Xena Warrior Princess”)

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Being part of PEP during this epidemic has motivated us to keep fighting no matter what the outcome. The bigger picture is seeing ourselves continuing this journey. We are all being tested. So many of us have been through the ultimate test and have come close to throwing in the towel. Seeing and going through all of this with many brothers has been a blessing. Yes, trying to relate with multiple attitudes is very challenging. Some show their emotions; some don’t say much; then there are the ones like myself that have always been outspoken. We come from different backgrounds and are put into certain situations where we have had to defend our honor (or our so-called honor). Being in PEP during this difficult time, we have all come together, united as one, to show how this program has benefitted and helped us put the past in the past and move toward the future, whatever that holds for each one of us. Special friendships have been made, ones that will go beyond these confined walls they call prison. We are no longer just numbers or men dressed in white; we are becoming entrepreneurs, and we are on a mission to transform our thoughts so we can be living examples – examples to ourselves most of all, but also examples to those who have shared their time and believed in us. PEP has become part of our everyday living. What we have learned is worth showing others. Words are no longer the ultimate goal – actions are what’s needed. 

Jose T. (a.k.a. “Olivia Newton John”)

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Ever since I have stared PEP, it has been quite a challenge. We came into this program from different races, backgrounds and styles. We came to PEP thinking it was only for business, but it was (and is) a lot more than just business; it’s about character and a life-changing brotherhood. Epic 2020 encountered a difficult path which included the Coronavirus pandemic. Since this occurred, PEP classes and visitations have stopped. A pressure was felt over all of us, mainly of anger, anxiety and depression. Thanks to the PEP brothers, we were all here to help each other out with a listening ear or just advice to keep each other in check and keep us going.

I believe everything happens for a reason, and I believe this is a big test from our Higher Power. It is a test to stick with each other by supporting each other through these tough times. PEP means a lot more to me now than it did in the beginning, before I was shown the value of love. PEP brothers have taken time out of their own days to help brothers out with their problems and issues. PEP works for those who want to truly change. Even though Epic 2020 didn’t have it like the classes before us, we have managed to stick together and remain strong through this whole ordeal. This difficult period makes us unique, and thanks to the graduates supporting us here on the inside, we will get through this together.

Luis V. (a.k.a. “Not So Stiff Cholo”)

Thursday, July 23, 2020

During these past three months of going through this program in our pods, it has been difficult. However, we have come together and persevered. We have worked very hard to continue to move forward while remaining optimistic. PEP has given us something to hold onto. Let’s just say PEP is a “ray of sunshine.” It has brought us together as a brotherhood. We have learned to lean on each other in tough times; we have also learned to be prepared for when things occur in life, “staying ready to keep from getting ready.”

Over these past 8 months, we have endured some arduous curriculum but have come out shining. For each of us to continue to look forward to what the future holds is very important. We can all relate when saying that coming into this, it was going to be difficult. Going into Phase One (character phase), having to witness first-hand the Robert Lewis videos – each one of my brothers knows exactly what I am speaking about. Then making the transition into Phase Two (business portion) after having gone through the testing process. We did it though. In Phase Two, we were learning how to speak in front of a crowd and about business, only to be shut down be a nasty virus. This took the wind out of us, but we made it. Now as I am writing this, the day that we will be recording our official business pitch, I say this: we are all better men for making it to this point. I am not only proud of myself but of each one of my fellow brothers for continuing on. Thank you, PEP.

Frank V. (a.k.a. “Alfalfa”)

Expressions                                                                                     

“Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”

~ Lao Tzu

I heard this quote from a former counselor of mine. What I like about this quote is that it all starts with just a thought. This means that our thoughts can make our destinies. We must therefore reshape our thought process and transform the way we think so that we can have a better destiny. The process starts with a thought, so it is best to catch yourself there. If you don’t catch yourself there, it doesn’t mean you cannot catch yourself in another part. Maybe your actions, your words, or even your habits. But at some point you must break the cycle before it becomes your destiny.

It has also been said that we are what we think, which is also a reason to be cautious of our thoughts. It also reminds me that God has given us a freedom of choice. Though we choose as we may, we don’t always make the right choice. And those choices may ultimately lead us to a dead-end destiny.

That’s why I love this quote: it lets me know that God has allowed us to have a choice in our destiny. So I do my best to practice positive thinking and am careful of the words I choose. I do this so that I can make my destiny into a great destiny.

Charles W. (a.k.a. “Brotherman”)