Monday, Nov. 4, 2019

Today in class we had Toastmasters. The Toastmaster meeting was facilitated by Mr. Toastmaster, Jonathan G, who did a fantastic job today. The speakers who spoke gave their speeches on our fourth speech topic, “How to Say It,” out the competent communication manual. The point of this speech topic is to make sure we know how to communicate what we are trying to say using simple yet descriptive language.

We had 13 brothers who spoke today on this project. As each participant gave his speech, one of our brothers who was the Timer for the day timed him. In addition, all the speakers had to find a way to incorporate the word of the day “ginger” into their speech.

Everyone gave an entertaining speech as each man told a story that provided the audience vivid imagery. From the look on everyone’s face, Rondell J. did a great job delivering his speech. He was able to take the audience to that point in time in 1982 when his first daughter was born. Our brother Navy A. was also very effective in the way he was able to have the audience think about the travel and beauty of exploring, not only for the mind but also the spirit. Brother Benny D. was able to bring it home with a heartfelt speech about the time he worked with some friends to help a family in distress and need.

All in all, today was a great day.

Ike H. (a.k.a. “Cartman”)

Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019

Today was by far one of the most beautiful days of all time in PEP history. We started the day off by praying in together. Shortly after, we turned in our Living in the Village books. We all had such fond memories of this book, but turning this book in meant that we are moving on to something else in the curriculum.

Our minds were racing, trying to figure out what was about to come next. We didn’t have to wait long, as we soon heard our speakers say, “Congratulations! – you have finished Living In The Village, and you will now move on to … drum roll, please! … Crime and Punishment!” This day came so fast – we were all told that Crime and Punishment is one of the last things we are supposed to read. Before we know it, we will be graduating the program.

Today was a day we will always remember.

Tony H. (a.k.a. “Prince”)

Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019

We all woke up excited to go learn about finance and accounting, topics that we must learn. They are very important to figure out because the success of our businesses hinge on these two things right. Getting the proper funds in order to start business is crucial. If you start out without enough, then you get into a cash crunch. We covered all the points for us not to get into a cash crunch, including different ways for others to invest in us, such as crowd funding.

Another point we learned about is accounting. Most of us never even knew about the basic accounting principle – assets minus liabilities equals owner’s equity – that is so crucial to the success of our businesses. We thank you, PEP.

We are getting ready for life and the new daunting tasks that are before us. Every day here in PEP prepares us for so many issues in our lives. If we can make it through this program’s hardships, we can make it in life.

Samuel H. (a.k.a. “Pocahontas”)

Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019

Today was a day filled with great excitement and transition. It started off with PEP’s brand new Phase One participants being called to class for orientation and green screen pictures that will be used for business cards later in Phase Two. They will have to wait for the Phase One kickoff to take their funny pictures. These will be used online so the Phase One family members can see them.

As the Phase One brothers were returning from orientation, the Phase Two brothers were getting ready to start the transformation process of giving back to the program by becoming teachers, facilitators and doormen. This is the most rewarding part to date. The conversation was of positive accomplishment and goal setting. Every single man in the program has grown closer to being the man we all said we wanted to become.

Today is a testament of the power of this program. From the orientation for our class, Vision 2020, and still today, all of us have been pushed to the limit. The ones who truly want a better life have embraced this and pushed through to gain patience, strength and adventure.

The journey ahead should be very rewarding as we assist our Phase One brothers with their character development. We have a saying: “Iron sharpens iron”; it means that by giving back what has been so freely given to us, we can do the same as we seek to build up our brothers. If you were able to spend a small amount of time with us, you would witness firsthand what PEP has been able to accomplish.

Brian H. (a.k.a. “Summer Teeth”)


“Being free is the freedom to make your own decisions and being responsible for those decisions.”


This quote is about free will and the ability to choose. I was drawn to this quote because it made me think of myself and the choices that I have made throughout my life. We often think that the choices we make are simple and do not play an important role in the outcomes or the consequences later on.

I know that I have made choices in my past that I did not think about twice and did not hesitate to make. They eventually came right back around to bite me in the rear end. I have also done the wrong thing or made bad choices and told myself that it was for a good reason. I have spent my whole life making bad choices and then denying the fact that I did this to myself, and that has eventually led to my incarceration. Even so, it took me a while to understand that I needed to grow up and start thinking about my actions.

Freedom and free will does not give us the right to do whatever we want, how we want. Our choices shape us day by day into the men that we ultimately become. When we make bad choices our outward appearance looks, bad but when we make good choices we not only look good on the outside but we feel good on the inside as well.

Making good choices makes us look good to people that look up to us. When they see us doing well, they want to do good as well. We will have no fear of negative consequences when we do well and make noble choices. While making good choices we start to make the world a better place one good deed at a time. We as men have to be responsible for our decisions in life.

God gave us free will to do good or bad because we have the ability to shape our world. I am making a fresh start to use my freedom and free will to make a better world.

Marquez H. (a.k.a. “Chocolate Drip”)