Week in Review

Monday, January 13, 2020

Today we started out class as we do with all of our classes: we prayed in, followed by the word of the day. After that we practiced our graduation walk. We did three runs of it and had to work out the rules. On the third run, almost no one messed up. We are eleven days away from doing that walk for real, and we cannot wait for it to get here.

After we practiced our graduation walk, a few of our brothers did their pitches for the class. We have come a long way since we started this class, and it shows in how we have been improving and delivering our pitches.

Then we had pray-outs to do for our brothers who are either already gone or about ready to leave. Pray-outs are emotional times for us as brothers. It means we have one less brother here with us, but it also means that one more of our brothers is back home in the world – back with their families and getting their lives together after being in a place like this, which is something we all want to do.

During the second half of the class, after lunch, those of us with children coming to our graduation went in and decorated the t-shirts for the teddy bears we will be giving to our kids. Many of us finished them, and they turned out nicely. It was fun but somehow it seemed like glitter got on just about everyone when it was all said and done.

Thank God for another blessed day here at PEP.

Brent B. (a.k.a. “Pinocchio”)

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Today we went to the PEP room after lunch and the few of us who had computer lab went over there to finish assignments. While we were in the PEP room, we had the opportunity to finish designing our t-shirts that are going to give to our children along with a teddy bear at graduation. The other half of us were working on practicing our pitches for next week’s Business Plan Competition – this is the big day we have been waiting for!

We have been waiting for this moment to finally accomplish something; for some of us, it will be the first time we can show our families the men we have become throughout these past eight months. These pitches are very important to us. We want to show every single volunteer all the great advice and feedback they gave us was put to good use. They have taken time out to come and sit down with us and help build every part of our business plan. We know how valuable time is and all the things they could have been doing with it, but they chose to come and spend hours of their quality time here with us. We are truly grateful. After practicing our pitches, we gave each other advice on how to present our pitches with our body language as well.

After we finished, we prayed out and went back to our dorms where we continued to practice our pitches again. We are all very anxious to graduate and show all the volunteers and especially our families that the man we once were no longer exist and introduce the new men we have become.

Armando B. (a.k.a. “Double Rainbow”)

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Today was another amazing day in PEP. The anticipation is like static electricity building as graduation day looms in the distance just outside of our reach – we are at 9 days and counting. “Who’s coming to graduation?” is being asked by everyone one of us. Mothers, fathers, kids, nephews, nieces, wives, friends and PEP brothers that are in the free world – so many people finally getting to see the change in us for the first time. We talk about whose business plan pitch is the best and who needs a little more work, along with asking ourselves, “Who has the best chance to win the Business Plan Competition?”

Steve H. came to give us his Integrity Selling seminar, and he did a great job of having us sell our businesses to him. He did an excellent job relaying the information in a way that made it understandable and applicable. We don’t think there has been another executive that has taken a whole day out of their schedule to lecture us for eight hours. Steve H. was funny, engaging and informative, and we truly appreciated his time and dedication.

So all in all, in the words of a famous philosopher that goes by the name of Ice Cube, “Today was a good day.”

Tyrone B. (a.k.a. “Red Hot”)

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Today the Phase One brothers enjoyed another segment of the Quest for Authentic Manhood, where author Robert Lewis reviewed the core essentials for a successful marriage. During this review, Mr. Lewis stressed the significance of the husband being, above everything else, a servant-leader. This ties in directly with one of our 10 Driving Values. He rounded out the session by listing 25 ways to be a servant-leader. Many men, myself included, found more than one area where we possessed strengths or saw our weaknesses. This session was truly one to grow on.

After lunch, we built camaraderie by breaking down barriers through fun with the most-feared of all PEP activities: the chicken dance. Tedious at first, we loosened up, paired up, lined up and began to learn the moves that most kindergarteners know merely by instinct, or so it seems. All PEP brothers know that this is a rite of passage.

Following lots of clapping, a whole lot of gyrating and no small amount of laughter, with this daunting task behind us, we got down to the serious business of lip sync contests. Yes ladies and gentlemen, it is true: the reigning champion has been displaced, and a Phase One brother now holds the title. The rivalry continued, imaginary walls were broken down, a number of us dropped our guards and by the end, new bonds were forged. The highlight, however, was the dance-off. East coast versus west coast, inner city versus country folk – laughing men of all ages enjoyed themselves today.

Good times had by all, we followed up with a heartfelt pray out. Backs were slapped and hands were shaken before we left class and called it a day.

Robert C. (a.k.a. “Lil Dirtbike”)


“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in the moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

~ Martin Luther King Jr.

This quote is very inspirational to me and has helped me in many ways, especially with how it motivates me to stay focused on my goals and never to stop trying to reach them. It has helped me grow in a way that I have never been able to do before being in this program. In PEP, we have been faced with many difficulties, and being able to overcome them is essential to our growth as men. We have gone through endless hours of studying (and sometimes failing tests, with a lot of homework as a consequence). Sometimes you have to read and understand situations to really grasp the deep meaning of things that seem dull. I am very thankful for everything that this program has given me and continues to do for me. Without it, I don’t know where I would be at today. I will continue to strive and reach my full potential even when I am released. Thank God for everything he has done in my life and all that he will continue to do for me. Great quotes come from great men, and I will continue to find the ones that motivate me.

Alejandro C. (a.k.a. “Little Pawn”)