Week 6

Week in Review

Monday November 5, 2018

Today we started the day off by going early to Toastmasters class. Because our class is quite large, we have to break it into two groups. Before we began, we prayed-in and gave thanks for another day in class. Today, we had seven speakers in Toastmasters, and all of them did an excellent job executing their speeches. We also had a type of competition, where the best speech would earn the speaker extra credit on our next test, and everybody was excited about getting bonus points. One of the things we have is a lot of fun, which was the word of the day that we had to incorporate into our speeches. Those who forgot to add “fun” into their speeches had to do 25 pushups, so everybody is always trying hard not to forget the word of the day! Today, all speeches had to last five to seven minutes. Thankfully, all speakers qualified. After that, we evaluated each speaker, which is very helpful because it gives us insight about what was well received and what we need to improve next time.

At the end of the class we still had some time left, so we decided to practice for our next event where we have to do a presentation for our businesses. We got to hear some great pitches from all participants. We also went to computer lab and worked on our assignments. I see that everyone is putting a lot of effort into the program. We all want to graduate and gain all the knowledge we need to start our own businesses when we go home.

Jose E. (a.k.a. “Borat”)

Tuesday  November 6, 2018

There is a tremendous bond that has been built up with those of us in PEP. We have come a long way since the beginning of our class. We call it “Redeemed”! Every day we come to class, the first thing we do is go straight for our nametags. But before we can make it to our nametags, we are greeted by a number of friendly handshakes and smiling faces saying “Good morning!” and “How are you?” This may seem like a common, everyday thing to you out there in society, but here in prison, that type of behavior is abnormal. It’s like a whole different vibe once we walk inside the PEP room.

We are working on our business pitches now. Our speaking skills were far from good when we first started this program (or at least mine were), but now we are giving business pitches five times a day. We have a class called Toastmasters that we take once a week. At first we had trouble giving two-minute speeches, and now we fly through five to seven-minute speeches like it’s easy. The other day after class we had a little spare time, so a couple of my brothers stood up in front of the class and gave us their business pitches over the microphone. We thrive on each other’s successes. Once a brother gets up to give his speech, we encourage him by rooting him on. We try to make each other feel comfortable because we know we are all in this together. We are Redeemed 2019!

Jonathan G. (a.k.a. “Huggies”)

Wednesday November 7, 2018

Today our class had the privilege of speaking with folks from PEP Re-entry, where we had a chance to find out if we were approved for PEP transitional housing. They came in from Austin, Dallas and Houston. You could tell people were relieved to find out one way or the other so they could make plans.

A lot of us were patiently waiting to take this week’s tests on Chapter 11 in our entrepreneurship textbook, Chapters Five and Six from Living in the Village, business etiquette or maybe even the “names” test (where we have to know each participant’s first and last names, as well as each guy’s PEP “sweet name”). Needless to say, it was all a little overwhelming, but we pulled through. Maybe because now we’ve gotten our “cheese” moved before. You see, now that we go to school on Mondays and Wednesdays, there’s no in-between time to study – it’s just back-to-back tests. That’s part of the way this program is set up though, to put you under pressure to see if you can handle it. We are up to the challenge!

After a long day of school, we retreated to our dorms and got a little practice in the form of pitch panels to help us get ready this weekend’s event. Continuous pitch practice will allow us to be exactly where we need to be when the time comes. Knowing our elevator pitches and being confident in speaking helps us enormously. After weeks of preparation, we seem ready. To end the day, there was a birthday in our dorm, so we sang “Happy Birthday” to our brother and gave him a birthday card. Just another day in PEP. Another week down, another one coming up. Almost there, halfway complete with Phase Two and ready for etiquette, EOUs and the future!

Jarrod G. (a.k.a. “Wichita Falls”)

Thursday November 8, 2018

Today was a busy day from the start as we practiced our three-minute Venture Capital Panel (VCP) business pitches throughout the day. We were a little nervous at first, but we’re getting confident and as prepared as we will ever be. This is one of the toughest programs to take part in, but we are determined to proceed toward that graduation day in March. We have about three-and-a-half months left before we walk across the stage in the presence of our families. Many of us have experienced a positive personal transformation.

We still have a lot to look forward to, like this Saturday, when we will get to experience our record event, the Venture Capital Panel presentations. We’re excited about that opportunity, and we look forward to hanging out with the executives and getting some great advice that they can offer us to help with our business plans. It’s good to know that we have so many PEP supporters who genuinely care and want to see us succeed.

Today, we also began Chapter Six in our entrepreneurship book. Our business knowledge is growing stronger with each chapter and test we take. We did well on yesterday’s financial and entrepreneurship tests, and we couldn’t be more proud of all our PEP brothers of Redeemed’19. We definitely have the “no man left behind” mentality and a genuine brotherhood with each other. Plus we can’t forget our Legacy ’18 brothers who encourage and support us each and every day. That is true servant-leader mentality, and we thank them for helping prepare us for a successful future.  

Antonio G. (a.k.a. “Slim Fast”)


A quote that has impacted my life is, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” – Benjamin Franklin

This quote has proven to be true, and honestly is very hard to practice, but it has the capacity to produce all that it states. Lately I’ve been struggling with procrastination. I want to do better than just be “good enough.” I want to be better than great, yet I find myself lacking purpose. As a Christian, I know my purpose is to share the love of God with others, especially those close to me such as family and loved ones like my wife. That is also tough to do when they can’t physically see you, or if the words you speak aren’t in tune with what God would have them be … and even if they are, sometimes hurt will reject kind words because it’s easier to believe the bad than the good. This all conflicts with being healthy as well as your ability to discern (so being wise), and if you don’t have those two you cannot accumulate wealth, plus I’m also sure this conflicts with your sleeping schedule. So this quote is the best quote to ever impact my life because of its simplicity and truth. It has helped me grow by exposing a pattern in my life and getting to the root of issues. My goal is to simply go to bed early for at least 21 days, wake early and then journal my results to bring the truth of this saying to life, because I would like to continually exhibit being “healthy, wealthy and wise.” I so badly want to be better than my past, so this is the first discipline I feel I must master.

Bryndan G. (a.k.a. “Happy Feet”)