Monday, July 8, 2019

The things that we have learned during this nine-month program have been very educational. All of us have made a beneficial change in our personal visions. Living life has become more interesting due to the brighter light PEP has helped us to see. Today we gave our Lord in heaven thanks and praise for allowing us this opportunity. This is a routine each and every day when we come to class. Then the graduates from previous classes shared some encouraging words about observations regarding our class’s success.

Then we watched a few films about art history. Those painters, both male and female, were very creative back during the 1700’s through the early 1900’s in Paris. We believe the most expensive painting came from France. Maybe it has to be called “the most expensive art collection era in history.” We also watched American History, but we were more excited about art history than we were about American history. Sometimes we don’t understand it all, but we still take notes in case we get a pop quiz. We really appreciate the chance that PEP has given us to better ourselves and do something positive with our everyday living. Thanks for supporting us.

Carnell A. (a.k.a. “Cherry Chapstick”)

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

There’s never a dull moment in PEP. Even when you think you have free time, you find yourself preparing for what is next. Today in computer lab, we worked on our change poems, which are our personal testimonies converted into a poem. Our leadership statements explain our skills and personality traits as a leader, and we also wrote about which of our 10 Driving Values is the most meaningful and why.

Once we were finished with all the assignments, we got the opportunity to watch a fellow brother get the Wheel of Doom for attending the wrong lab class. Afterwards, we went back to our pods to participate in pitch panels, because we need to “stay ready to keep from getting ready.” We are almost at the end, and everyone is excited to finally be able to prove that all our hard work has paid off. We are ready to lead the next class to be even better. So far, we see a lot of potential in this next class and the way they are able to embrace PEP. We will continue to help the guys that want to change, to the best of our ability. That’s PEP for you.

Vincent A. (a.k.a. “Grandpa Klump”)

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Test day! As we all walked into the PEP room, we were all anxious to take the test that we have been studying for all week, because it’s one of the last tests in our class. Before we took the test, a PEP brother read the word of the day, which is sharing some motivational words. Today it talked about how even kings sometimes have evil desires just like we do, and that these can corrupt our true nature. But if we remember our true north, we will always have what we need to acknowledge and overcome them.

Next we had a presentation about Integrity Selling form Jose H. and Dylan D., who showed us how to understand our emotions and identify our values and morals. A couple of other brothers stood up and said some encouraging words, including “we must find our motivation and free it.” Then we had pray outs for Gail B. and Isaac D., when we say anything in our heart that we want to tell the men who will leave soon, and then we prayed over them before they leave on parole and start their next journey.

We also did praise reports, which is where we praise our brothers who are showing excellence in what they do and shining in their efforts to be Servant-Leaders. Ricky B. then gave us a presentation on the funny awards ballot that we will be voting with and selecting our brothers for awards that are unique, which is something that we are all looking forward to do in the near future. We also watched videos on art history from Paris that showed us paintings from Paul Gauguin. One of the paintings was called The Seine Valencourt. Painted in 1880, it was three feet by five feet and pictured a lake by a town. It looked very elegant, with smooth surfaces and beautiful colors. We ended the day by praying out of class and leaving full of knowledge and motivation. It was a blessed day indeed.

Jaime A. (a.k.a. “Lego Baby”)

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Phase One is scheduled for class from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Phase One is the character development stage in this program, and it is very important that we lead these men to be the best that they can be. You must successfully complete Phase One in order to reach Phase Two. Everybody was up early this morning, and you could see each Phase Two participant doing pitch panels while Phase One got ready and prepared for class. Man, the days are flying now – we are about to graduate and become actual Servant-Leaders.

Later in the day, you could see some of our fellow brothers doing homework from failing the tests we took yesterday. We are so glad that those were the final PEP tests we will ever have to take! All of our hard work has really paid off; we are going to be able to say that it was all worth it. To be able to see the growth in my fellow brothers from beginning to now is truly a miracle.

As the day continued, we were watching the same movie we have seen a thousand times but never grow bored of. It’s pretty crazy when you think of it, because we do have real cable here, but that’s all peachy. Just an insight to another blessed day in the PEP program.

Gail B. (a.k.a. “Eddie Kane”)


“Only the strong survive.”

This quote has rung true throughout my entire life. From my days in high school having to put on my tough guy persona so as not to get bullied, to the military where it was literally physically exhausting day to day with training and what not. I have seen guys weak-minded but physically strong not make the cut because they couldn’t tolerate the mess, or they couldn’t handle being uncomfortable. The military does things to push you to your limit, either to find the elite few or to weed out the weak links that can be a crucial liability in a warzone situation.

I found myself using this mantra in prison as a means of physical survival and to be respected. You’ve heard the stories and seen the TV shows about prison life. It’s my first time (and last) time in prison, and I have seen guys get singled out, manipulated, extorted, beaten or sexually assaulted. My main thing was not to be disrespected, so I spent a lot of my time asserting my strength during my first few years, and that’s how I got through it. But now being in PEP, I have to be mentally strong to survive this program and put up with things and people that I normally wouldn’t associate with. I’ve strengthened my tolerance, patience and study habits to survive in this program. I’ve learned that real strength is being able to take whatever is thrown at you, and even if it knocks you down, you get up and move forward again. That’s called growth.                                                                         

Dante B. (a.k.a. “Damien from Friday”)