The following was written by incarcerated men who are participating in the Prison Entrepreneurship Program‘s Class 22 “Business Plan Competition.”

Week in Review: Week 4

Monday (28 July 2014)

Toastmasters International

Toastmasters International

Good afternoon Toastmasters! As we walked into the PEP room I could see on the guys’ faces that they were anxious about giving their first real speech. We still had a few brothers who needed to give their icebreaker speech and they were excellent. There was one speech given by Gerald “Boo Boo” about how to train your dog to sit and listen to your commands that was very interesting, detailed and clear. Everyone was attentive and seemed to enjoy the topic. Let’s not forget about the thank you cards that were passed out for all of Class 22 — no amount of preparation could have prepared us for those. Each day gets more and more exciting. “Go Transcendent 22”!

Tuesday (29 July 2014)

Today we were given a day off from class, but of course not from homework and studies. We studied the handouts that Bert S. gave us as well as continued reading in our entrepreneurship books. As I look around the dorm, brothers are in study groups and going from table to table asking if anyone needs help. How about that for unity? Everyone is still working hard to finish their thank you cards without any errors, which will result in more homework. The 2 ½ minute pitch looms just around the corner. No matter how difficult it may be, we will endure and keep moving forward.

Entrepreneurship A Small Business Approach textbook

Our textbook

Wednesday (30 July 2014)

Today, the atmosphere in the PEP room was that of seriousness for Transcendent 22. As soon as we sat down we were taking the Chapter One test, and when that was complete it was right on to Chapter Two. Then the unthinkable happened: a pop quiz for Chapter Three, or so we thought. That was a close call! Bert S. (a.k.a. Chocolate Truffles) started to lecture on Chapter Three, and the primary focus was on choosing a single business idea starting with a list of three to five ideas. Then, we are to identify one business on which to perform a due diligence analysis. The purpose of this is to see if a sufficient business opportunity exists and if you have the resources to take advantage of it. The spirit of being an entrepreneur has begun.

Old computer ad

Thursday(31 July 2014)

Transcendent Class 22 XXII started its first computer class today, and for some it was probably their first time ever to turn a computer on. For others, it was just another day at the office as they breezed right through their assignments. After that, we met with PEP’s Re-entry staff. Harvey M. and Luis A. gave us all helpful information about our transition into society. It’s good to hear from men who have been where we are and can tell us the obstacles we will face when we walk out the door. They went in-depth on what is expected from the men who are going to the transitional house and how to go about getting all the required documents to apply for jobs and start life again.

Friday (01 August 2014)

cover_tki_LAs we filed into the PEP room we broke up into our accountability groups to prepare for another session with Dr. Younker who holds a Ph.D. in industrial organizational psychology and is also a volunteer with PEP. We started session three of the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI), and today’s focus was on understanding and respecting individual differences and effectively managing conflict situations.  Then we switched gears and took a Thomas-Kilman conflict mode resolution assessment. It was designed to assess an individual’s behavior in conflict situations and helps people identify how different individuals tend to act when conflicts arise. Mike Potts said, “This is the meat and potatoes of what we are trying to accomplish.”

Saturday (02 August 2014)

Laura and Theresa

PEP Family Liaisons Laura Stiehl and Theresa Black

We were headed to the PEP room to finally meet with PEP’s Family Liaisons, who are two very important ladies within the PEP family. Theresa Black and Laura Stiehl are amazing. They introduced themselves and gave us a quick insight into their lives and why they enjoy doing what they do. It’s such a blessing to know there are people like our Family Liaisons who reach out to our families and help mend relationships. Looking around, the brothers were very excited about this day. Once again, brothers had a lot of questions, and after that we began our one-on-one interviews. It was a blessed day for Class 22 to be part of the revolution.

Sunday (03 August 2014

Today was the final day of our beloved Family Liaisons, as Laura and Theresa finished interviews with the brothers that didn’t get a chance to see them yesterday. It’s amazing to see the dedication that those two women put into helping us build our relationships stronger with our families. Just by looking into some of my brothers eyes I could tell how grateful they were to have this opportunity to become better men because of the PEP family. No matter what, we will persevere because that’s how Class Transcendent 22 does it!!


There is a Texas A&M quote that says, “From the outside looking in you can’t understand it, and from the inside looking out you can’t explain it.” I know that we all can relate to this feeling. As each of us transcend through different levels, it becomes harder to put into words the life transformation that we all experience in our own way. God is using PEP as a pen to write a new destiny in the heart of every man and woman who comes into contact with it.

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