Monday, July 15, 2019

Today was a day of excitement and joy as we began practicing our walk for graduation. Just like most things in life, this was no easy task for us. We enjoyed the jokes; we enjoyed the success we had completing the practice run; but most importantly, we enjoyed the new us. With the 10 Driving Values we’ve applied to our lives, we can say with confidence that we are no longer products of the dark places we once called home. We can instead now say that we have the tools to rebuild our lives when we are released, and that’s more than what we could have asked for, because it is rare to come out with the tools and support found in a band of brothers.

A lot of us have seen the trail in the sky that’s left when life goes by, but we also get to see the works of God in our lives. We expressed today how difficult it was to go through this process. One thing we can say is that out of 100,000+ men in prison, very few have committed to live a life of change, and by doing so we conquered the old us. Pearl S. Black once said, “None who have always been free can understand the terrible fascinating power of the hope of freedom to those who are not free.” We want to have that freedom, and we have hope on our side to be the driving force to help us achieve our freedom.

Devonte B. (a.k.a. “Baby Mackerel”)

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Today we started off our Tuesday like we do every class by praying in with a great prayer from one of our PEP brothers. This was as followed by Daryl O. saying the word of the day. We spoke about our upcoming event and graduation. We also watched a movie called The Best Of Enemies, which is based on a true story. But before we got started, David F. spoke to us about the movie and how some of us have dealt with racism at some point in our lives. He also gave us some words of encouragement. They showed a very encouraging movie about unity and how racism affects our community. It reminded us of the 10 Driving Values, especially having a “Fresh-Start Outlook”.

You see, no matter how we were raised or the mistakes we’ve made, people can change. We are proud of Legendary ’19 and the changes we have made. We have come a long way in the program. We are excited for a second chance to start over and make memories with our family and loved ones. We can change, but it starts from within. Thanks to PEP, we have been given the opportunity. Today was a good day.

Jose C. (a.k.a. “William Hong”)

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Today was amazing. We shared the day with Mr. Steve and David R. They were teaching Legendary ’19 the Integrity Selling course. Man, those guys were tough. They broke us down to build us up and did it all over again. Even though it seemed hard and they were really on us, it was all out of love, and we really appreciated it. Today we became better salesmen, and all the credit is due to these two men. One thing that really stuck out to us today was a piece of knowledge that David R. shared about keys to success: keep your faith in God, make good decisions, make a strong commitment, have a good family support system and have a good mentor. We feel that was some very powerful information that we plan to apply to our lives.

We also did a few exercises practicing our selling skills, which was very interesting since for some of us, it was our first time ever trying to sell anything. To see someone who has been where we are now become so successful because of using these few keys to success was inspiring. He gave me belief to understand that no matter how it may look to society or others, the achievement of your goals for your life depends on your actions and choices. No matter how hard it may get in life, you must strive through the pain because there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Alan C. (a.k.a. “Low-Carb Burger”)

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Today was a very good day, which started off by going to the computer lab to finish work that needed to get done. After that, we had a Servant-Leader meeting where we talked about how we needed to work on self-discipline. That has to be the hardest thing we try to change in our lives. When the training time was over, a brother talked to us about how the real test will be when we are released from prison because right now we are in a controlled environment, but outside of prison we cannot control what will happen based on the situations we put ourselves in. When our Servant-Leader meeting was over, we all signed up for a job because when you graduate, it is time to give back to the new class. Every single position in PEP was open, so we started interviewing for a position. By PEP allowing us to take action and start working before we are released, we were reminded that we need to have responsibilities. Without responsibilities, we tend to get lazy, which many times is the reason why people end up coming back to prison. We also have a chance to expand our view to do things that we have not done before.

We recently read a book on how to give back and the inexplicable joy you receive from doing it. Now that we will be graduating, we will be giving back and experiencing that same joy that the leaders talk about.

Malik C. (a.k.a. “Vanilla Moon Pie”)


“The value of an idea lies in the using of it.”

~ Thomas A. Edison

I believe this quote has changed the way I think in many ways, because it’s stating that the ideas you come up with are of little value if you don’t put them into action. I have never put my ideas into action before, and then a week or so later I see that someone else is using my ideas, and the only reason it wasn’t my idea is because I never took action on it. That goes for life in general as well: you can have the idea to go to school too, but people die before they actually take action on any of their ideas. Becoming rich is just an idea until we get up and take action – the same thing for becoming successful. It starts with an idea that grows up to become an action. Thomas Edison became one of the most prolific inventors this world has ever seen, all because he acted on his ideas. “Big thoughts don’t matter if they are not turned into action.”

This quote makes you think about your ideas a little differently and how we all should live out our ideas. I think the reason that most of us don’t act on our ideas is the fear of failure, but that won’t get us anywhere. Thomas Edison also said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” So when we think about failure or rejection, we need to think about the bigger picture and ask ourselves instead, “What if we don’t fail and our ideas become reality?”

Thomas C. (a.k.a. “May Not 2”)