Week in Review
Monday March 18, 2019
We began class, as we do every day, by praying in and showing love to our fellow brothers. We are still just getting started on our journey through Toastmasters. While there is plenty of room for improvement, it was amazing to see the level of skill already present in class. We came well prepared for the current project. When we finished early, we all had our cheese moved and had to run a second session of Toastmasters. In the end, everyone in our group finished the first project out of the Competent Communication manual. Getting to learn more about our brothers through their Icebreaker speeches was a good experience. It brought us all closer together as a class. It was good getting to see our brothers move forward in their ability to speak in groups. The lessons we learn through Toastmasters will be invaluable as we move forward in class toward presenting our business pitches.
Everyone enjoyed themselves, and the class was fun. We also had fun with the theme of the day: “If your were a female superhero, who would you be”? Our word of the day was assiduous, and it and it was interesting getting to see each speaker work this word into his speech. It was good getting to see our brothers working to better themselves through this practice. Finally, when class was finished, we prayed out.
Allen B. (a.k.a. “Little Pop-a-Lot”)
Tuesday March 19, 2019
Today was our first lesson on personal finance. We will be studying from the book Living in the Village. To begin, our In-prison Manager spoke a few words of inspiration and gave us his personal experience in financing. After that, we were introduced to Jason J., a graduate who actually has a degree in finance. He gave us a great presentation and helped guide us through a 30-year retirement plan. We went over Chapters One and Two of Living in the Village. Many hands went up, questions were asked and Jason J. did a fine job helping us understand the ins and outs of the different types of IRAs we can use to build wealth. Once he had given us his lesson on building a retirement plan, we went deeper into Chapters One and Two. His lecture really helped a lot of guys in class start to understand personal finance.
Next we did a few pray outs for the brothers who were blessed to make parole. We do this for all our brothers on their way home. To conclude the day, we watched videos of one-minute pitches and then saw how they were evaluated. The advice from the evaluation was helpful and well-spoken. Finally we did our pray out for the day.
Jeffrey B. (a.k.a. “Phoebe from Friends”)
Wednesday March 20, 2019
In the process of reading today’s entry, you may be able to judge that I have ADHD and that I can steer off topic from time to time. The first thing we did when we arrived was face the library to take a test on Chapter Three from the entrepreneurship book. (Unfortunately, I failed because of my lack of time management.) After we took the test, we had a quick review of Chapters One and Two. Going through the chapter reviews, we learned how to brainstorm and put together business ideas through collaborating as a class. Together we figured out what businesses would be best for us by analyzing ourselves, learning what our additional skills are and what hobbies we enjoy. Learning all of that helped us to pinpoint what would be best for us to pursue as a business. Thanks to Jonathan G., we had the pleasure of learning from his past experience in the oil industry, which interested me a lot because I’m from the Permian basin.
After we went through a quick review of Chapters One and Two, we received a packet on basic business. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go through it as a whole but were told to study it on our own. At the end of the day, we were all eager to come back to our dorms and do the homework for failing a test. As it is widely known here at PEP, we need to “stay ready to keep from getting ready.”
Saul B. (a.k.a. “The Plumber”)
Thursday March 21, 2019
As we mature in PEP, our goals start to mature also. One of our goals in PEP is to become servant-leaders. So we have to read this book called The One Minute Manager. The book is amazing and probably the best book we’ve been given. The book teaches us how to be an effective leader. We all would like to work for someone who knows how to help us understand our goals and responsibilities, as well as praises us for the progress we make on our work, but also reprimands us if we fall short of our goals. An effective leader also knows how to carry out reprimands with tact.
Around 8 a.m., we turned out to the PEP classroom. The Texas City Wolf Dragons – which few of my PEP brothers and I are a part of – won best accountability group for this month. We were rewarded with a movie. Accountability is very important to us and our program, so we drive to help others see the higher standard we all possess.
After the movie, we came back and hit the books pretty hard. Next week there is a possibility that we could be tested over a lot of material. So far, no one in my pod has failed a test. We take pride in being on top of our game. Two of our 10 Driving Values are execution and excellence. One thing that we all love about PEP is that it pushes us outside of our comfort zone and helps us to improve our weaknesses. We have guys who aren’t naturally outgoing stepping up and encouraging other guys, showing others that they are amazing and that they shouldn’t worry about the negative feedback we get from other people because we are doing better things with our lives now.
Devonte B. (a.k.a. “Baby Mackerel”)
“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.”
~ Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Let me start by saying it is an honor and privilege to share with everyone a quote from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. that has been inspirational to me and has helped me grow during my adult life. The quote above continues on to say, “There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”
This quote lines up with one of my favorite verses in the Bible: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Our ability to forgive our brother or sister is one of our greatest attributes. It might sound unbelievable, but I didn’t have a problem forgiving other people when they hurt me, but I did struggle with being able to forgive myself when I fell short of my own expectations. I couldn’t start my process of learning how to change until I forgave myself for my past mistakes. It’s amazing what forgiving yourself can do to your self-esteem and self-confidence. With my newfound forgiveness, I have learned to respect and trust myself again. Then I started to work on transforming myself into a better young man. That is why I believe the words “forgiveness” and “love” go hand in hand. I hope this quote helps everyone who reads it like it has helped me. Thank you and God bless.
Jeromy B. (a.k.a. “Smelly Sheep”)