Archive for the ‘Graduates Serving the Community’ Category

Class 20 graduate Mark L., a.k.a. "Sweet Homey the Clown"!

Class 20 graduate Mark L., a.k.a. “Sweet Homey the Clown”!

We have a very special “welcome home” post today!

Mark L. has been in prison since 10/1/1994 … and was released today. 20 years, 1 month, 13 days later.

This Class 20 graduate was actually granted parole earlier, but he **declined** it and opted to stay in prison. Why?

Because Mark had been chosen as one of 10 servant leaders (prior PEP graduates) to transfer to a new prison to help us launch a new program near Dallas, Texas. Mark “had a job to do and wanted to see it through to the end.” Read more about this here; Mark is also pictured below.

Thanks to Mark’s servant leadership, around 40 other inmates recently completed this new program in PEP. And today … after 7,349 days behind bars … Mark is free at last.

Welcome home, “Sweet Homey the Clown”!

PEP Graduate Servant Leaders at Estes Unit

Pictured with the other servant leaders who followed this call to open a new program, Mark L. is on the front row, bottom right,


Read similar testimonials from other graduates here.

PEP graduate Bryan Kelley was recently invited to speak to students at the University of North Texas about entrepreneurship. The invitation came through PEP’s 2014 Houston Volunteer of the Year, Keith Okano (President of Bridgeway Software), who was also part of the presentation.

Thank you, Keith, for being such an amazing advocate for PEP!

Young teachers at Teach for America Summit in Houston

Young teachers at Teach for America Summit in Houston

Our graduates are generous not only with their money but with their time.

Earlier this week, several PEP Graduates spoke to teachers involved in Teach For America – Houston who were gathering in Houston for the annual Teach For America Summit. The event was hosted at KIPP Houston Public Schools, “a free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public school dedicated to preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and in life.”

Our graduates were invited to share their life stories and encourage these young teachers to see the potential within their students. Attached is a photo of one of the groups of young people who joined us.

Having grown up in many of the neighborhoods where these teachers now work, our graduates can provide unique insights on the challenges that these teachers face with their students … particularly since a significant number of our graduates were first arrested as children.

Why do we ask our graduates to do this?

First, we believe that engaging our graduates in service to the community is a critical part of their own life transformation. Providing them with powerful opportunities to “give back” helps them to build one of the two critical pillars of PEP: a new identity.

They are no longer ex-felons or “takers” … they are givers. They are servant leaders. They are transformed men.

But the second reason that we do this is that it builds the second pillar of PEP … restored hope.

This second pillar does not simply strengthen our graduates; it fortifies their families and sustains their communities. Ultimately, by sharing their personal stories of redemption, our graduates are working to restore hope and offer a new identity to anyone who faces life’s most overwhelming challenges.

Your support of PEP makes this possible.


We love hearing about opportunities to engage our graduates as speakers. Are you a part of a faith community that would like to hear a powerful message about redemption and hope? Or are you involved in a civic group or business community whose members would resonate with a story about PEP graduates who overcame enormous struggles through hard work, dedication and entrepreneurship?

Thank you for joining our revolution!