Week 9

Week in Review

Monday December 10, 2018

Today has been a very encouraging day. God blessed me with another day and opportunity to live and grow as a man. I was blessed to start my day conversing with a couple of PEP brothers about how much each of us has changed since starting this program. We have overcome insecurities and learned to step outside our comfort zones, which had been forged by the lives we lived and how we were raised. To be able to have a conversation about positive change and the fruits of it gave me a new perspective, which helps me change myself – and influence others – daily.

While attending Toastmasters today, I was again blessed to witness several brothers give motivating speeches about mental, spiritual and physical wellbeing. To see so many brothers acknowledge God means a lot to me. Also, hearing them share their experience of God in their lives, including the restoration of relationships with their kids and families, was evidence of the change happening in the Prison Entrepreneurship Program. As my day continued on, I again had an opportunity to share ideas with three brothers about my business plan and how it could all be used to not only reach success and stability in life, but help other people who are in the position we once found ourselves in. Upon realizing how much each of our successes could in turn help countless families and communities, we have all been even more motivated to continue giving our best efforts in all we do. I have come to believe that success is not measured by how many people you stand above, but by how many people you’ve helped standing next to you.

Aaron L. (a.k.a. “Banana Montana”)

Tuesday December 11, 2018

Today we were off of class, but that doesn’t mean we rested. While others were snoozing, Phase Two was hard at work getting ready for the big test tomorrow which, unfortunately, has to do with numbers. Although part of our class was nervous, several of us have stepped up to the plate and are finishing up our preparations with only a few more tests remaining. We are excited to close out the year with a bang. The countdown has begun, and with graduation around the corner, we are not about to start slacking. Our Peer Educators advised us to bring our calculators for the test tomorrow, but we now feel certain that no “number of numbers” will be too difficult. We have even taught some of our Phase One peers the formulas and are helping them get ahead as we all prepare for the future. Many of us have big dreams, and no amount of time that has passed will deter us from reaching those dreams.

Finally, after all that studying for our big test, many of us decided to work out and get some exercise. Mind, body, and soul are three things we plan to maintain in top shape. Some of us read the Bible, while other found another good book to read. Although it hasn’t always been easy and there have been obstacles all along the way, we have all come a long way. We can’t wait to demonstrate to our families and the world the new men who are now emerging.

Victor L. (a.k.a. “Gummy Bear”)

Wednesday December 12, 2018

We have reached the apex of our journey through the second phase of PEP. As we begin our descent to the finish line, we can see how much we have changed since our start in June. We just wrapped up our Excellence in Etiquette event which was probably everybody’s favorite event. It was nice to just be able to sit down and share a meal with a group of business owners and executives who are champions for our success and growth. You will not find humble service of this magnitude anywhere else in the U.S. For the first time in a long time, it was nice to feel like we were not in prison. The proof was in all the smiles in the room. For all we knew, we were all business owners coming together for a worthy cause.

Now it’s time to finish strong and push through the weight and stress of being away from our families and loved ones. The holidays are always tough for any man or woman in prison. However, it’s encouraging to see us come together as brothers – as a family – during this time. We had our financials test this past Wednesday, and it felt good to be done with it. Now we are getting our business plans put together and memorized before we graduate. Then for the most of us, our journey through PEP will start the most exciting phase of all: going home and living out PEP’s 10 Driving Values for our children and families.    

Michael L. (a.k.a. “Piglet”)

Thursday December 13, 2018

Today wasn’t a very busy day for PEP’s Phase Two, unless you had computer lab. Some PEP brothers facilitated our new Phase One class, but other than that it was relatively slow. Now Wednesday, on the other hand, was very eventful. It was our first real class since coming off of lockdown. While it was nice having a break, I think I speak for all my PEP brothers when I say it was good getting back to business. Plus it was good to catch up with all my brothers. After shaking hands and saying our hellos, it was test time. We had our EOU test, which you could tell that most of us had really studied and learned the formulas taught to us, because most of us passed.

After that we got a great lesson on our finances from Tim H. I knew from talking to a few brothers that the financials were really confusing for them and giving them a hard time. But with Tim H.’s knowledge and guidance, I think we all learned what to do. After that, we went over our next chapter in both Living in the Village and our entrepreneurship textbook. Jason J. does a terrific job teaching Living in the Village. You can tell that he really knows what he’s talking about. Then we were taught Chapter 7 in the entrepreneurship book. I think my favorite part of class was the praise reports that we had given each other. It really shows that we are here for more than just ourselves. But if we keep doing great things for ourselves in this program, we will be noticed for it and appreciated. Knowing that someone cares is a great feeling. Words of affirmation can go a long way.

Mandy M. (a.k.a. “Squidword”)


“What is the difference between a boy and a man? A boy does what he wants, while a man does what he has to.” – Unknown

This inspirational quote has helped me grow. I believe it has changed the way I think in a number of ways. I used to sit at home and ride my four-wheeler and drink beer. I watched cartoons, played in the mud, went camping and fishing, went out hunting and played in my flat bottom boat. I would do all kinds of things that weren’t important. But these things are not things a man does when he has to work and pay bills, feed kids, buy school clothes, and put food on the table. I realized that a man does what he has to do to provide for his wife and kids. That way, we can live a comfortable life and have nice things. Understanding this has made me a better man and father, because when I don’t feel like going to work or PEP, I think about this quote. Whenever I don’t want to do homework, take tests, or go to my CHANGES class, I think of this quote. Many things I want to do are not necessarily the things a man should focus on doing. A man provides for his family. A man takes care of all his responsibilities first, and then he has fun.

James M. (a.k.a. “Hank Hill”)