Week in Review

Monday                                                                                                      May 18, 2020

During this COVID-19 crisis, we in PEP are still doing what is required of us as well as keeping up with the news and our friends and family back home. Today the computer lab opened back up, and everyone was excited to be back in the computer lab. We are working on lessons from our entrepreneurship textbook. When we are in the computer lab we still have to follow social distancing guidelines. They only let a few of us in there at a time, and we have to seat ourselves accordingly. We also must keep our face masks on the whole time we are in there.

In the pods (dorms), we still hold our weekly meetings and give each other feedback about life in PEP. Everyone is doing such a great job despite the circumstances; we still hold our Toastmasters meetings, and the Pod Coaches and Peer Educators are doing a phenomenal job of organizing our different groups and keeping us informed. In the evenings when we are not studying or working on our business plans and pitches, we do a variety of things: some watch the news and other shows on television, while others play chess and board games. We all get together nightly to pray for each other’s families. Despite the goliath of COVID-19 and social distancing, PEP is still active and we are helping each other through these unprecedented times. We are still working on our business plans and our pitches, and we are not giving in to fear, but instead working on the things we joined PEP for.

Jesus G. (a.k.a. “Volume”)

Tuesday                                                                                                   May 19, 2020

It was like a breath of fresh air to be starting class again. We have been given the opportunity to change our lives and impact the people we hold close to our hearts. We are all thankful for the teaching of the executives and returning to the computer lab. We know that it will take time before we are running full steam again. However, my peers and I are ready to give back and show that we are Servant-Leaders “on a mission to transform inmates and executives by unlocking human potential through entrepreneurial passion, education and mentoring.”

In our faith and ministry, let us use this passion in our teaching and exhort with liberality and give diligently as we work to see its positive effect on the world. When we trust Jesus Christ as Lord, God, Savior and life, we are also asking Him to supersede our will and our lives. We are just normal people. We have been blessed with good families and good communities.  The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap. (1 Samuel 2:7-8) Money is not the answer to problems, but God is. Life will never be the same once you have given your life and heart to God.

Michael G. (a.k.a. “Tyrone Biggums”)

Wednesday                                                                                              May 20, 2020

It is said that anything worth having does not come easy. You should work for what you want – and once you attain it, you will cherish it more. We have all been working very hard to reach the goals we have set for ourselves. During this difficult time for PEP, we have all had to use the 10 Driving Values we have learned even more. We have used Innovation to move our classes to the living areas. This has allowed us to complete our Toastmasters speeches. Through Servant-Leader Mentality, our Peer Educators, Pod Coaches and other graduates have taken the time and put forth the effort to teach us how to calculate the economics of one unit using the base revenue model. With Fun in mind, every week we have a PEP game night. This is where we get together and play different games like dominoes, shuffleboard and bucket ball, just to name a few. It is, of course, done in the spirit of competition. We practice Accountability, because just like any family, we have different ideas and views of how things should be. The accountability process helps us to sort out our problems in a mature and loving way.

We have started going to the computer lab and doing entrepreneurship class on the computer by watching videos that have been made for us. We are all grateful for the time and effort to make that possible. Even though things are done differently for this class, we are looking forward to graduation and becoming Servant-Leaders for the next class. We hope all the executives are safe, and we pray things go back to normal soon so we can all enjoy the full PEP experience. God bless you all for the things you have done for our class despite the circumstances.

Leonard G. (a.k.a. “B Rad”)

Thursday                                                                                          May 21, 2020

It means a lot to our class to be learning again. We have missed some important time in our growth with this program. We also believe we have missed a great opportunity to have conversations with the executives, which would have been a huge stepping stone toward our success. All the networking and brainstorming we could have shared cannot be replaced. Most of us feel this has hindered us. However, I believe this was God’s will. He puts nothing upon us that we cannot bear. He is a divine creator, and we should not question anything that has happened. If anything, we have had more of a chance to get to know our brothers in the program. A bunch of likes and dislikes have been shared. We have grown in a much different way than previous classes.

It will be hard to jump back into the swing of things when the world is still in chaos – but we signed up for this. We were warned that this would not be an easy walk. However, we are ready to salvage what we can and move on to the next phase of our lives. The little time we are allowed in the computer lab has helped. We received our market research, and I had some great things from the advisors. Maybe going forward won’t be so difficult after all. PEP has not given up, so neither will I. Thank you all for all you have done for us.

Carlos H.  (a.k.a. “Wendy Williams”)

Expressions                                                                                     

“We were made to want and to give love. No matter how dark the night, midnight will pass. No darkness, no matter how dark, can hold back the second hand. Whether you like it or not, whether you want it or not, whether you hope it or not, whether you build a wall around your soul and cut out your eyes, wait a few hours and the sun will crack the skyline and the darkness will roll back like a scroll.”

~ Charles Martin

This quote was written by my favorite author, Charles Martin, in a book called the Water Keeper. He says that love is like water because no matter how hard you try to cut it, love always comes back together. Up until recently, I had given up on love and treated hope like a soccer ball, just an enigmatic figure that we kick around. When I looked in the mirror, all I saw was the pain I scrawled on my body like an Etch-A-Sketch of my own delinquent talent. Such a talent in the belief of blue skies turned grey and so much faith in promises made to walk away. But God never gives us anything we can’t handle. If I have held onto anything, it’s in the truth that all things work together; we are all one; we all suffer; we all feel pain in rejection … because we all just want to be loved. So when I see a world in pain, like “game recognizes game,” I remember the mirror … and pain’s reflection helps me have compassion and moves my heart to lift up my suffering to the cross, just as my Savior did. And the midnight always passes. I drag my shadowed cross into the promise of a new day, with love, because love is amazing! It takes the brokenness, the scars, the pain, the darkness, everything – and makes it all new.

Grant H. (a.k.a. “Kenny’s Cheerleader”)