Monday, May 20, 2019

Today was an interesting and fulfilling day in class. Our class was a little excited being that we just came off a two week lockdown, but it did not take long for us to settle back in and get back to business as usual. Tim H. came back in and went over the financial statement and EOU’s for our Business Plan Competition. Tim H.’s financial examples were very informative to everyone present during class. He named his fictitious business “Tim’s Tender BBQ Sandwiches,” and he gave us the breakdown on what goes where on our financial paperwork. It is very interesting how every penny can have a negative or positive outcome in your net profit. In one example, he had his profit listed as $748. With just a slight 50-cent increase in his price on the economics of one unit (EOUs), it increased his yearly profit from $748 to over $2,000. What a difference 50¢ makes in the overall picture when figuring out your net profit in an EOU statement.

We also learned how there is no interest you have to pay if you qualify and receive a Kiva loan. Also, the lowest price is a $1,000 Kiva loan and the maximum allowance is $10,000. We were also provided with the cold hard truth that as felons, we have to provide an extensive track record of borrowing and repayment, and that you show significant experience in the proposed business that you plan on starting. (A bank will not even consider giving you a loan in that situation.) Overall, Tim H. was able to provide our class with enough examples and information to fill out our financials to complete our assignments. Thank you, Tim H., for coming out and showing us that information.

 Miguel L. (a.k.a. “Mr. Burns”)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Today, we welcomed the new Phase One class, Winter 2020. For a lot of us, it was our first time facilitating. We were on point and worked well together. We had a lot of strong influence and teachers that were in the class before us, including Servant-Leaders like Dustin and Victor. We even learned what not to do from our wonderful emcee. Our goal was to speak to these men the way we want to be spoken to and keep them entertained as well. We really want to make sure that this class is the best class. The bar has been set high because of our class, and we will do our best to implement that into the next class as well. We started with the first lesson of Authentic Manhood and got to join group discussions over the lesson that was taught. We also went over the history of PEP and discussed the accountability process. There was a lot of participation from the men on what PEP meant to them. It was a first time both for Phase One and Phase Two in the experience itself. Our Peer Educator had to pay a Wheel of Doom, which was hilarious. He was really a good sport and seemed like he really enjoyed himself a little too much. Then it was everyone’s favorite part of PEP: handing out the “fun names” (formerly known as “sweet names”). We all had a great time and then prayed out.

Joseph L. (a.k.a. “Twerk-a-lot”)

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Today we started off our day with the infamous EOUs test. We were all nervous, but overall Legendary ’19 did great! After we finished our tests, our beloved Jim got straight into Chapter 7 of our entrepreneurship over establishing a financial foundation. The objectives were identifying key financial issues, basic funding of a business and the importance of proper accounting. Jim helped us to understand the difference between debt and equity. We also went over crowdfunding, grants and supplier credit. After that we went over chapters 12 and 13 in Living in the Village, which helped us understand how we should diversify our investment strategy and the importance of getting a financial advisor. John gave a very entertaining presentation on the do’s and don’ts of thank you cards.

We finished off the day going over the character assassins and the importance of good character. After we went over the different assassins of character, we got a chance to share how they affected our lives. Several of the PEP brothers, including myself, were brave enough to get up and share. It was an extremely emotional experience, and the connection in the room was so strong … words can’t describe it. It’s moments like this when we all truly connect that make me so grateful and proud to be a part of something so amazing.

Jeremy L. (a.k.a. “Taco Shell”)

Thursday, May 23, 2019

What I got out of PEP is so much more than what I expected when I initially signed up for the program. I was searching for something new to get away from my other unit. I also wanted to be able to say that I graduated and obtained a certificate from Baylor. I have received so much more! Being able to come up with a business plan and have the education to help make a simple business a reality – what more could I ask for?  Event after event, the knowledge and backing to push forward and make my business better, to assure my foundation is strong, means the world to me. The brothers that I have met during the process, from David F. to Gami J., have been more than what I expected from leadership. They push you to be better through the 10 Driving Values – they give you a piece of their lives. Every day when I walk into the PEP room, I get a sense of relaxation, a family setting in its own sense. I had my doubts about what I was going to get out of this program. I have received growth, maturity and the backing of a stable force of nature called PEP. I can only pray that the program continues to reach out and change the lives of men like me through each class. I will be a Servant-Leader in my own way to give back the blessing PEP has given to me.

So I say thank you for all that has been given to me and my brothers. PEP has truly changed my way of thinking and given me insight on my journey to become a better businessman and human being for my family and community.

Lessie L. (a.k.a. “Jalapeno Tuna”)


“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”

~ Thomas Jefferson  

The first time I heard this quote, I posted it on Facebook as my quote of the year. I received so many likes from a lot of people, and it led to some very interesting conversations. However, it had a very profound effect on my life as well. At the time, I was being trained in home renovations that provided me with some much-needed experience. Pete, my mentor, had a friend I grew up with, and he had a lot of knowledge in dealing with financing projects. I built a pool house for him, and every morning before I started working, another friend of mine would invite me to check out the Dow and NASDAQ on his investments. He explained to me how it all worked, and I was intrigued on how financially literate he was. I had just recently been released from a previous incarceration, and God had revealed to me one day that he had answered a very important prayer that I prayed when I was away: it was to be in the company of people who were productive and that were moving forward in life. So the moral of this story is to continue to strive, to persevere and be determined to reach your goals and to never give up, because God will answer on His time and He is always on time.

David M. (a.k.a. “Raisin”)