Week in Review

Monday, June 8, 2020

During this difficult time, we are maintaining our curriculum here in PEP through in-dorm programming and computer tutoring. There are many obstacles to finishing our business plans and completing this challenge, but we are learning how to endure during times of hardship.

Today we went over marketing, and our instructor has been quite effective in relaying his extensive experience to us. We are learning to identify our target customers and how to differentiate from other companies. Each marketing dollar must generate the most returns, and there is a lot that goes into strategic marketing plans. Our businesses are coming together through the input, feedback and advice of our Peer Educators and fellow students who share what they have learned during previous classes. Many of the individuals are being released, and it is a welcome sight to see others transitioning back to society after being here for so long, as well as to watch as they implement the material they have learned. It is definitely frustrating to miss out on the true events we normally would have had, but we are learning to manage disappointments, just like those we will face in life.

After our curriculum finishes and we go to e-School (weekly classes offered upon release), we will carry what we have learned about business and look for financial opportunities to establish operations. We look forward to seeing our business plans completed and all the hard work we have done come to fruition. I hope to be able to share this with family and friends so they can see what I am able to accomplish.

Miguel M. (a.k.a. “Jalapeno on a Stick”)

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

PEP has become a rock during these tumultuous times and a bit of a certainty amidst an uncertain future. We are appreciative of having daily activities to help cope with the frustration at what society is going through and the anxiety that the news reports. Our groups lift each other up and celebrate the successes found in the program, encouraging us to be better than we were the day before as we strive for continuous improvement. We have come together as a family when our families are so far removed and distant. Our business plans continue and bring routines and challenges to keep us focused on the goal that we intentionally set. Without this structure, there would be much chaos and distractions as we each face difficulties in life, but we have come together during the hardships and have lifted each other to higher levels. We are strong when we stand together and remain united in the struggle to overcome obstacles our past decisions have created for us.

PEP continues to support our endeavors and the direction we are headed toward a successful life in society upon our return. When we know there are secure environments that do not encourage the behaviors we have grown accustomed to, it is comforting to know and experience. We all look forward to our upcoming completion of the program and lie in wait of what great things await us beyond the walls and fences of prison. We have grown and we continue to grow each and every day as we strive for excellence.    

Bryant M. (a.k.a. “Blank Man”)

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Our class, Epic 2020, has experienced an epic year with an epic crisis to deal with. PEP means even more now than at the beginning of this difficult period. No one could have predicted what we have been going through in here and in the world today. Though we have no events, no classroom time and no executives, we have had the opportunity to watch the videos sent to us by the executives. We have remained positive and continue to embrace the PEP culture. We are PEP, we make PEP and we will continue to make PEP better.

PEP stands for change. It stands for hard work and dedication. We should always be thankful and blessed to be a part of a fraternity and brotherhood that pushes us to succeed. The 10 Driving Values, holding ourselves to a higher standard and serving others is what PEP stands for. It is important for us to push forward in this difficult situation and make the most of our opportunities in this program. Everything that has happened really proves how quickly something can be taken away from us, but also reminds us not to take anything for granted. We embrace this program more than ever and do our best. We have been given the tools to succeed, to be entrepreneurs, to change our character and impact our families’ lives. If we can get through this difficult time, then we can get through anything. PEP is our stronghold, our culture, our safe haven. We want to thank everyone who has stood by our side – God bless you all.

Michael M. (a.k.a. “China Man”)

Thursday, June 11, 2020

The fact that PEP is still going on and thriving during this pandemic means a lot to all of us in this program. There are many seasons in life that we have to endure as human beings. We are not the first people in the history of the world to have to rebound from a set-back. Just as life goes on, so must we go on, but here at PEP we don’t have to go on alone.

We here at PEP are not just individuals – we are warriors. Warriors fight as one unit, live together, eat together, work together and go to battle together. We are PEP warriors, not PEP worriers. We do not worry about yesterday for there is nothing we can do about yesterday. We as PEP warriors along with the rest of the world know that tomorrow is not promised, so we do not worry about tomorrow. What we as PEP warriors do is what all great warriors do: focus our energy and our attitudes on the present moment. By focusing on this and giving our best effort to live out our 10 Driving Values, we will be the very best that we can be. Today we will be successful, because day by day in every way, we get better and better. Being able to have our PEP brothers instead of just some friends means the world to all of us. “For a friend loves at all times, but a brother is born for adversity.”

Joseph M. (a.k.a. “Stuart from Mad TV”)

Expressions                                                                                     

“It’s human nature – we become what we see.

We become clones of each other.

Break free from that and say, ‘I’m deciding to be my own individual self, and it looks nothing like what anyone else is doing.’

There’s something so powerful about being unique.”

 ~ Alicia Keys

The reason I chose this quote is because I believe we all struggle with this. Most of us get consumed within our own societies, with living the American dream of becoming rich. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but the way we choose to do it can be very wrong. We all want that instant gratification and resort to the fast life, leaving all of our childhood dreams behind us. We all had those dreams of becoming the greatest at something. Some of us even had great talents growing up, but we gave up on those dreams to become just like our society. How will you ever know if you could have been the greatest professional player, doctor, engineer, teacher, etc? We may have given up on our past dreams, but that doesn’t mean you have to make that same mistake twice.

I am a father, and they say that your kids will become a reflection of you. Just like me when I was a kid, they have dreams too. It’s my duty as their father to see that they follow through with those dreams, and who knows – you will probably find out if you could have been the greatest by seeing them succeed. My American dream is still to become rich, but not by materialistic things. Nothing makes me happier than to help others and being with those I love the most. Those are my true riches.

Simon M. (a.k.a. “Low Budget Romance”)