Week in Review

Monday                                                                                                      March 9, 2020

Today was our second day to be in the computer lab. This is, for some of us, the best part of the program. Computers are such a big part of everyday life now, and these skills will be quite helpful to all of us. Learning Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint can be frustrating, but thankfully there are Servant-Leaders in place to guide us through the learning process. The great thing about being taught these computer programs is the application. In some careers or even with business ownership, this skill set will serve as a huge, helpful momentum swing in the technological direction. Employers are looking for hard workers, and generally speaking they are also looking for people with basic computer skills. Looking around the room, you could see the phases of learning we were all experiencing. By the end of class, you could see the sense of accomplishment we were all feeling.

At this point in time, a lot of us are starting to show a true sense of change. We are all starting to sound and feel like real businessmen, and the newfound confidence shows. All of us were shown plenty of help from the Servant-Leaders, and we cannot wait to learn more.

Corbin B. (a.k.a. “Sweet Little Twinkie”)

Tuesday                                                                                                   March 10, 2020

Today during class, we did speeches on our most memorable moments in life. I felt this was important because it brought out your worst and best thoughts to mind to deal with or to remember and enjoy those times. Our past events play a big role in our everyday lives. Things from our past sometimes jump to the forefront of our minds from a simple word or smell. We use our past to help make better decisions in the future – information waiting to be used to take us to the next level of greatness.

Today we shared stories from the past, including everything from joyful moments with our kids to tragic moments when we lost loved ones. To give some of our best and worst feelings to our PEP brothers helps us to be closer. To know we can trust each other with our feelings, our pains and our joys is what family is about: stepping outside our comfort zones by sharing; breaking down the walls of negativity and misfortune; building a new foundation based on integrity, accountability, excellence, love and many others – all values we hold dear.

Placing yourself in an environment where accountability is key helps us to be aware of our every move. Writing about this also helps to bring self-awareness and clarity to the things that are important, the things we do to change for ourselves and our families.

Donald B. (a.k.a. “Downtown Chocolate Brown”)

Wednesday                                                                                              March 11, 2020

Today we took our first Entrepreneurship test early this morning. We were nervous and unsure of how we would do. For some of us retaining information is difficult, so we worried more than others. When our emcee asked us to turn our chairs toward the library for test time, a lot of us had the shakes. We did our best though and answered the questions carefully.

After we tested, Carl B. went over entrepreneurship Chapter 4 in our entrepreneurship textbook, “External Analysis.” Since it was time to learn, we were all quiet, plus Carl B. can be quite fun to listen to. He has plenty of experience to share, making it a better learning experience. With his marketing experience, he was able to teach us about how Mr. Clean started and how it was made for everything. Most of us did not know that when Mr. Clean began selling other products, the company actually went down in value.

Learning how to analyze businesses was informative and fun, and we cannot wait to learn more. Knowing these things and the things to come will be key to making sure our businesses are successful. It was a good day today for all of us, and it turns out that we worried about our test for nothing – we did a great job!

Santos C. (a.k.a. “Pop Rocks”)

Thursday                                                                                          March 12, 2020

Today we went over Living in the Village with two of the Servant-Leaders. The chapter covered insurance, insurance policies and which policies are necessary for different individuals. We learned that the term “adequate insurance coverage” is called into effect when one poses the question, “If I die today, is there someone who would be negatively impacted by the loss of my income?” If so, then one is going to need to have adequate knowledge of the different policies available.

The Servant-Leaders went on to teach us about the different policies: term life, whole life and universal life. The simplest, term life, is just short-term and necessary to renew if possible. Whole life is more expensive but does not expire with time and comes with a guaranteed cash value option. Universal life is a policy that is more flexible with the policy holder and has a cash value option available.

We also touched on the tips for blue collar workers: prepare for retirement; budget for longevity; establish credit; and save, save, save. This class opened a lot of our eyes, since the average age of our class is 25-30 years old. Most of us realized we were unprepared for our eventual retirement. Now we know we need to educate ourselves on the best possible options that we can seize to make our downhill slide count.

Taking the Living in the Village class has given us the necessary tools to become more financially stable upon our release. We are grateful to our Servant-Leaders, PEP and our families for the support.

Ronnie C. (a.k.a. “Kat Von D”)


“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

~ Thomas Edison

Throughout my life, with all the information that I have gathered and people I’ve looked up to, I have learned many things. The many twist and turns on life’s journey led me down a road of trying to gain rewards and a sense of success with different activities I participated in. Sometimes I followed the plan, but sometimes I would just wing it, which caused me to lose my focus. A lot of the time, things did not go according to plan.

Over time, through trial and error, the mistakes and losses seemed to take their toll. My choices were not giving me a sense of accomplishment. When I came across this quote, I began to change my perception on my situation almost immediately. I began to understand that my efforts in life to accomplish my goals to be successful are not a waste of time. It just reminds me that I need to be innovative with my ideas and plans so that I can achieve the desired results.

Being closed-minded and not willing to change or try new things will only make me fail before I start. But understanding that life itself is a school, and my failures are opportunities, will help me to gain wisdom and make me stronger. With the trials of problem solving, I can gain skills and insights that will be valuable, whether to me or someone else.

This quote has had a positive effect on my thought process when it comes to my failures. Now I can look at them as opportunities to win by using a different method. Failure will not be an option when it comes to my success.

Khalid C. (a.k.a. “Beanie Baby”)