Week in Review

Monday                                                                                                      May 11, 2020

Today this terrible pandemic is not only affecting life outside of prison, but inside as well. There are so many bad things going on inside of prison due to Covid-19. However, we in PEP are standing strong, firmly rooted in the solid foundation built with the 10 Driving Values. While other programs have completely shut down, PEP goes on. Why? The easy answer is that we are not just another prison program. PEP is a way of life, and we stand up when anything tries to bring us down.

My entire life has been something that I am not proud of. I joined PEP because I wanted to change who I am. As a person, I am good. I have always been a good man, just going through life with the wrong tools. PEP alone cannot change my life. But it is a powerful tool unlike any other, capable of giving me the knowledge, support and drive to fix anything that’s broken. It’s a tool with which anyone who really wants to can build a life out of past scraps and create that which will weather any storm in the future. Covid-19 is just one of those storms. Here at PEP, we are doing what needs to be done by standing steadfast in the face of adversity – not idle, but diligent in our path to the future. Singularly we struggle during this time, but together we are strong and await the return of PEPs full support.

John F. (a.k.a. “Snuggles”)

Tuesday                                                                                                   May 12, 2020

PEP is still making a difference despite the circumstances and hard times. This is due to many things such as the bond of brotherhood and culture that we have. This bond and culture keeps us motivated and pushes us through the struggle. It is a day-to-day fight dealing with the epic changes and daily obstacles. However, each day we overcome the negativity.

A lot of people have found it difficult to continue with the program for many different reasons. Some feel that without the events, executives and In-Prison Management, it has taken the fun out of the whole program, while other are struggling for more personal reasons. For most of us though, we joined PEP for the brotherhood, resources and positive connections that the program offers. So we are not going to let minor obstacles set us back from achieving our short- and long-term goals. We believe that the real obstacles are out there with employment, children, family, sobriety, education and all other stresses and problems. These are the things we sought to be able to overcome with the things we have learned here in PEP. Right now, it is easy – the real challenge will be upon our release, and if we give up here then we will not be able to stand strong out there. We will stay focused, on the right path, being positive for ourselves, our families and PEP. We hope everything gets back to normal soon so that we can continue to progress with our education and enjoy the presence of those who have dedicated their time even during this difficult time.

Raymond F. (a.k.a. “Holy Moley”)

Wednesday                                                                                              May 13, 2020

PEP is still making a difference to me despite the circumstances. This virus has taken over our country by surprise. It has hurt not only the poor but the rich and people of all races. This virus is causing small business owners to close due to social distancing. People are unable to pay their bills on time and scared they are going to be put out of their homes. Our children are now learning a new way to learn without going to school. Unfortunately, some families do not have the skills to educate their children at home and are going to make mistakes when it comes to providing a proper education.

PEP has taught me to be a thinker, a person who can come up with an answer to most problems that come my way. The program has given me a better way to live by giving me the necessary tools that I need to make it in today’s world, including how to fill out job applications and be positive and confident when interviewing. With our newfound life lessons, we can say we now have a better handle on working through these tough times. PEP has helped us become better men as well as human beings by doing positive things and giving our all. We hope our families can see that we acknowledge our mistakes and are striving to overcome them. This program has been a blessing to us all, and we hope to bring accountability to everything – past, present and future.

Anthony F. (a.k.a. “Mrs. Butterworth”)

Thursday                                                                                          May 14, 2020

Although we are experiencing something America has never seen before and everyone is in a panic, we are thankful for PEP in a few different ways. For one, it is giving us the tools needed to be successful upon release whether becoming business owners or not. The knowledge and values this program has equipped us with will benefit us for years to come. During this tragic time, PEP has helped by keeping all of us busy and occupying our time with things like Toastmasters, Living in the Village, and Entrepreneurship class. We have been able to keep our minds focused rather than wandering to all the worries of the world today. The program has helped show us that we can weather any storm by pushing through to the end.

The pride that my brothers and I have today because we have pushed through this trying time is a pride we want to hold onto. Because of PEP, the men we have become will have a second chance to show our families that we can do anything we put our minds to and have a positive impact on those around us. This is the time we are able to set ourselves up for success because that is what we want for our communities. People say that knowledge is power, but only truly applied knowledge is power, since without doing what you have learned you cannot truly achieve greatness.

Byron F. (a.k.a. “Bubba Gump”)

Expressions                                                                                     

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”    

~ Luke 1:46-47

When giving thanks, I like to look back on this verse in the Bible. In these pandemic times, I have a lot to be thankful for. Although I feel helpless in this situation, I can’t help but be thankful, appreciative and hopeful. As I watch the news every morning and observe the numbers of deaths that this virus is causing, all I can do is be thankful for the first responders and essential workers who assist in providing medical attention to those in dire need, fighting for their lives while being quarantined, away from their families with no emotional support. All I can do is be thankful that this virus has been absent from this facility. All I can do is be thankful when I call home that my family is doing well and taking the proper safety precautions to stay healthy.

When things start to become troublesome in your life, learn to take a step back and realize the things you could be thankful for. Exercising thankfulness within helps you to realize that things could be a whole lot worse. To do otherwise shows a lack of discipline in one’s character by not being appreciative. To act on those thoughts can bring a lot of negative results, so stay positive and be thankful. God bless you all.

Corey G. (a.k.a. “Cleveland Jr.”)