Week 8

Week in Review

Monday November 19, 2018

Today we had our Toastmasters class where we gave our third speech. So far, it’s pretty interesting because not only does it sharpen our speaking and presentation skills, but we also get to speak on subjects and stories that happened throughout our lives, and quite a few of them were very comical. One of the brothers, Samuel D., told a story about a fishing/rafting trip in which he overturned the raft, throwing him and his wife into the water. But the story of the day came from Kendrick C., which was entitled “What Music Means to Me.” Kendrick told various stories about his life and compared them to different songs. He talked about how these songs would sometimes help him through a rough spot. We had a great time hearing all the stories today.

After class, we returned to our pods (living quarters), where everyone in Phase Two worked on and studied our financial Economics of One Unit (EOUs). EOUs teach us about sales, total profit, how to figure out what to sell and how many products must be sold in order to break even and start making a profit. It also shows us how to calculate the overhead a company incurs. Lastly, we studied and went through our etiquette book for an upcoming Etiquette event we have coming up on the 30th. We are learning the proper etiquette rules, as far as which specific spoons, knives and forks to use with what entrée or dish. Also, we read about the proper greeting methods and seating arrangements when it comes to a meeting. After all the studying, we concluded our day and went to sleep.

Brandon H. (a.k.a. “Red from Friday”)

Tuesday November 20, 2018

Glory is to God. Today has been a wonderful day. We woke up this morning with change on our minds. Our class, Redeemed ’19, is focused and ready for the days at hand. We were asked to attend the Phase One group today, and it was too much fun watching the new guys learn in class. We also got to participate in two of our PEP brothers’ pray-outs. The pray-outs consisted of four PEP brothers speaking words of life over the person leaving. Joel O. and Phillip W. are so blessed to be leaving, and it was such a privilege speaking God’s Word of hope into their lives. We witnessed a lot of brotherly love in the pray-outs – that is what PEP is all about. This is a very challenging program, and I am honored to be a part of something so productive. We see change in each other as the days go by. It is totally amazing to witness people grow and transition into society. These men are equipped spiritually, mentally and physically. We are all preparing for our release.

We have all been studying for our Chapter 6 entrepreneurship test. We have flash cards we made and test each other in study groups. It feels like a real college. Hopefully we all pass, because homework is about three days long if we fail. Either way it goes, we are all still winners. My prayer is that all the PEP brothers and staff receive God’s love and protection forever. Happy Thanksgivings to everybody and have a blessed week.

Thomas H. (a.k.a. “Pepto Bismol”)

Wednesday November 21, 2018

We are now 6 months into PEP. At this point our schedule is set. Today is our most difficult day of the week, because it’s test day. It’s amazing how much we learn every week, and if you don’t want homework then you should study. However, days like today start at 4:30 a.m. with breakfast, followed by our early morning cram session. As soon as we go to class at 7 a.m., we begin by praying-in and then we immediately take our test. After the test, we start our next lesson. At this point we are studying Economics of One Unit (EOUs) or revenue models. From what we hear from our previous class, the EOUs are the hardest test we will take in PEP. The program is designed to test us by putting us in high stress situations and helping us choose the right path. At this point, our class has become exhausting.

Some of us are becoming Servant Leaders, and this requires us to step up and show the classes that follow us what PEP is really all about. This means taking time to help the Phase One (character) class adjust to the changes of our program. When people look to us for answers, it adds to our workload. PEP is very challenging, but all in a good way of course. Staying focused on graduation helps us through these tough times. Take a deep breaths, my friends. Stay focused and don’t panic.

Joshua J. (a.k.a. “Little Debbie”)

Thursday November 22, 2018

Today we woke up with excitement, knowing everybody was one day closer to going home. It is Thanksgiving today so we are all showing thanks for the things we are given. With the opportunity that PEP has given us and the opportunity that we are giving ourselves, we realize today that the things we have done in our past are left in the past. Today is a new beginning for a brighter future.

We have been working extremely hard to learn the curriculum of the entrepreneurship course we are studying. And more importantly, we have been working even harder on the development of our character. We are currently studying for our next test that consists of EOUs; these are mathematical formulas for sales revenues. As far as our character, we are all working together. I see everybody showing complete unity and everyone is working with each other to elevate ourselves to another level. In the dorms, people are lending a helping hand with the study materials. Everybody is encouraging everyone to keep pushing and filling each other with confidence and courage. In our Living in the Village course, we are learning different concepts of finances. Right now we are currently learning about IRAs, which is basically a retirement plan. This class is opening our eyes to a lot of things we did not know before. We are learning how to save money and spend it wisely. We did not know the science behind that before. Now we have a whole new outlook on our money and how to use it responsibly in order to put ourselves and our families in the best possible position.

Thomas K. (a.k.a. “Bon Qui Qui”)


“Life is what you make it.” – Unknown

Getting the most out of life can be so much easier if you know the coordinates. Whether you were to take a detour or find the simplest shortcut, there can be no substitute for a good road map. We all make mistakes in life, but the question is, did we learn from our mistakes? A lot of people, including myself, didn’t just volunteer to come to prison, but somehow it happened. Now that we are here, the journey begins with us being isolated from our family and friends. Now we must make a decision that could impact us for the rest of our lives. We can either push forward and change our negative way of thinking, or we can sit around and do absolutely nothing but feel sorry for ourselves. There are many opportunities we can take advantage of while we are incarcerated, from work-related programs to improving in our academics. I was one of those that had the desire to change. Not only for myself but for the wellbeing of my family, I took cognitive intervention class, Voyager, Authentic Manhood, and even completed two vocational trades classes: Electrical and HVAC. I even got EPA-certified. Most importantly though, I got the opportunity to come to PEP.

I didn’t realize how much I needed to change until I completed PEP’s Phase One class. This character development phase opened up my eyes to the person I used to be. I held in a lot of pain and I shut a lot of people out. I made a decision to really work the program to see what I could gain instead of quitting on myself like I always did. I credit PEP for the man that I am today. I’m more confident in myself, and I know what it is to be a real man. For someone like me to experience change is truly amazing. Now I believe I can achieve anything as long as I push forward in life and make the best out of every situation.

Tuan L. (a.k.a. “Mr. Chow”)