Posts Tagged ‘challenge’

The following was written by PEP Class 22 graduate, Barry M. 


PEP Graduate, Barry M.

PEP Graduate, Barry M.

I have spent most of my adult life incarcerated.

For most of this time, I thought I was just a bad person. I thought “I was born this way and there is nothing that I can do about it. I will spend the rest of my life in and out of prison.”

But when PEP supporters like you met me in prison earlier this year, they brought me a very different message. They told me: “You have value.”

By spending a day in prison with total strangers, people like you convinced me that I was not a bad person … I had just been making bad choices. They taught me that, if I made a sincere commitment to myself, I could change.

PEP supporters like you taught me that my past did not have to dictate my future.

This all started when I was sitting in my cell on the Coffield Unit in East Texas. That morning, I received a postcard inviting me to apply to PEP. I asked the others on my cellblock about PEP. They told me not to bother applying because I would never get in.

To be honest, I believed them. But I also knew that it was going to be hard to gain employment with a felony on my record. So, I loved the idea of starting my own business.

But then I met PEP’s recruiter, Marcus Hill. He had served our country in the Army and was now a successful entrepreneur. But I was shocked when I learned that, in between those things, he had spent time in prison. Just like me.

Marcus told me that PEP was much more than a business program. He told me that if I was just applying because I wanted to be an entrepreneur, I would not be accepted. But if I was applying because I needed to change – because I was desperate for a change and willing to go to any length to get it – that I had a chance.

Thankfully, I gave myself that chance.

From the moment that I walked into PEP, my life has not been the same. It feels like I’m in a dream, except I know it’s for real. Although PEP is very challenging, the rewards are greater than anything I could have possibly imagined back in that cell in Coffield.

You truly changed the lives of men like me
by supporting PEP.

The business lessons that you offered us were exceptional. And I have to admit, I am pretty proud of the business plan that I put together! But honestly, what impacted me the most was PEP’s focus on character development.

By guiding me through these programs, people like you helped me to change my thought process. From the thoughts that I think to the words that I speak, you have cleaned me from the inside out.

When I look in the mirror now, I like the man who is looking back. That is something that I could not say for a very, very long time. Thank you for giving me that gift.

To repay you, I am committed to changing the lives of others through my story. But I cannot do it without PEP, and PEP cannot exist without your support. I hope that you will consider donating $22 in honor of Class 22, which graduates this Christmas.

Your gifts matter. They make a difference to men like me, to our families, and to our community. Please go online to www.PEP.org to donate today.

​With gratitude,

Barry M.
Class “Transcendent” 22

p.s. ​The PEP Board of Directors has committed $190,000 in matching funds for every new donation before 12/31/2014! That means that a gift of $22 becomes $44 – enough to sponsor a month of bus passes for men looking for work after release from prison!

Better still … if you can make a monthly commitment, the board will match your commitment $2-to-1 based on the annual value of your gift. That means that committing $10 per month will secure $240 in matching funds for PEP before the end 2014. If you are interested, please email Charles Hearne at CHearne@PEP.org. Thank you for any commitment you can make!

I Flip for PEPLots going on this week at the Cleveland Correctional Facility … including the launch of Class 20 of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program!

Today, we host our Internal Kickoff event. Most of the nearly 110 men who are entering PEP have been connected to us for months, including our three-month “Prep Class” called Principles of Effective Leadership. 

Today’s event is a celebration of their entrance to PEP with our staff and graduates from past classes. The event that is decidedly NOT like the typical prison experience, as the room is decorated for a party and the atmosphere is one of fun, fellowship and hope!

This is all in preparation for our official Kickoff on July 19, 2013. You can learn more about this event, and register to attend, here:
http://www.pep.org/rsvp/rsvp/

You can also see photos from the last class’ kickoff event here:
http://prisonentrepreneurshipprogram.zenfolio.com/c19kickoff

This week also marks the two-week countdown towards our fundraising campaign. As we announced a month ago, we received a challenge grant of $100,000 that will match EVERY DOLLAR that you donate between now and our July 19, 2013 kickoff.

Your gift of $100 will instantly become $200 through this campaign.

To learn how you can double your impact, please visit our campaign site:
http://pep2013.causevox.com/

Together, we can transform prison!

David Blanchard in prison

Executive volunteer David Blanchard entering prison through PEP

On July 19, 2013, the Prison Entrepreneurship Program will launch Class 20 with one of our largest classes to date!

This class also will mark an important milestone for PEP. Our 1,000th graduate will walk across stage with Class 20 on December 13, 2013!

Your support of PEP will make this possible. Donors like you provide 100% of the funds that we need to deliver our programs, and we could not operate without your gifts.

We have received a challenge grant that will match every dollar that we raise up to $100,000 … but only if we can raise the funds by July 19, 2013. You can turn every dollar that you donate into twice the impact thanks to the generosity of our Governing Board, who are providing this amazing opportunity to PEP.

You can track our progress on this challenge live here,
and also see the contributions from others.

Funds will ensure that these men receive all of the support that they need to earn not only a diploma from PEP, but a Certificate in Entrepreneurship from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business (see link here to learn more).

It takes around $1,500 to sponsor a participant’s quest for their college certificate. Half of those funds are being put up by our Board of Directors — but only if you help us to raise the other half.

Help us to beat this challenge by donating today!

See you in prison,

Jeremy Gregg
Chief Development Officer
www.PEP.org

Progress towards securing the $100K match as of 5-22-2013

Progress towards securing the $100K match as of 5-22-2013

You value the work that we are doing at PEP. And since we know that you want us to be successful, we need your help.

Can we count on you for a $10 donation?

Here is some incentive:

Every dollar that you donate before July 19, 2013 will be MATCHED one-to-one (up to $100K). So if you can donate $10 to PEP, our board will donate another $10 — doubling your impact.

Some ways that your funds could change lives:

  • $10 could provide a new Toastmasters book to a man entering our next Business Plan Competition class, helping him to make 120+ presentations of his pitch in front of others;
  • $25 …  financial literacy curriculum / textbook to teach him  how to manage his money after release;
  • $100 … college-level entrepreneurship textbook to teach him how to open his own business after release;
  • $250 … “Fresh Start Kit” that includes a suit, work clothes, toiletries, an executive portfolio for interviews and everything that he needs to get his life re-stabilized after release from prison;
  • $500 … eSchool bonus to reimburse him for investing in his business after earning his second diploma from PEP
  • $1,500 … fully sponsors an incarcerated participant’s quest for their college Certificate in Entrepreneurship from Baylor University through PEP

To see who has already donated, please visit http://pep2013.causevox.com/