Posts Tagged ‘entrepreneur graduation’

Graduation is the culmination of nearly six months of hard work by our participants, who were hand-selected from a pool of nearly 10,000 other men across the State of Texas to enter PEP.

PEP Class 21 Graduation
Friday, June 6th
2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Cleveland Correctional Facility
(45 minutes North of Houston)

PEP is an entrepreneurial “boot camp” that requires graduates to complete over 1,000 hours of work while developing a complete business plan. In recognition of their accomplishments, graduates will earn a Certificate in Entrepreneurship from Baylor University (learn more about these certificates here).You can learn more about the overall PEP program here.

Come ready to celebrate their accomplishments as these men open the next chapter of their lives!

To register to attend graduation, click here. PLEASE NOTE that we must have prior authorization for all guests; you can not gain entrance to the prison without completing an RSVP form and securing approval.

To see pictures from the last graduation event, click here.

Whether or not you can attend: Please share your best piece of advice, line of encouragement or favorite quote with our graduates! Click here.

PEP Graduation in Prison

This December 13, 2013 will mark a a major milestone for the Prison Entrepreneurship Program. On that day, we will watch our 1,000th graduate cross the stage and receive a PEP diploma.

Your support made this possible.

We would love for your to join us that day in prison for the Class 20 Graduation! You will not only see over 80 members of “Tenacious Twenty” earn their Certificate of Entrepreneurship from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business, but you will be able to meet their families and loved ones.

Friday, December 13, 2013
2:00 – 5:00 pm
Cleveland, Texas
(45 minutes north of Houston)

To register, go to www.PEPrsvp.orgThis site provides directions and logistics about the event

See you in prison!

eSchool class in Houston

eSchool class in Houston

One of our graduates, Justin M., recently shared this note about eSchool — “Entrepreneurship School,” a continuing education program that PEP offers for graduates who have been released from prison. We have adapted for this blog:

“The greatest lesson I have learned from attending eSchool is ‘slow-cooker, not microwave.’

When I was incarcerated, I had all my goals and plans laid out and I imagined taking off like a rocket when I was released. But while in prison, I had lost sense of real-world time. I forgot how much time work and family and day-to-day living consume. So finding time to work on my new goals became frustratingly slow, it seemed.

Sure, I was moving up and on, bringing my family with me, but not even close to the pace I was planning and expecting. Then I heard from two executives on two different nights at eSchool, the phrase ‘slow-cooker, not microwave.’ It made me realize that I was trying to put rocket fuel in a vehicle that requires regular gas. It made me realize that, Hey, I am still going to get there, as long as I have my foot on the pedal, and I can enjoy the scenery on the way.

The greatest challenge I have overcome since joining PEP is the ability to form goals and spend time pursuing them, rather than participating in things that only pulled me down in life. I have achieved several goals since being released. Multiple raises at my job, purchasing a vehicle (finally getting off that bicycle!), time with family, moving to the suburbs from a tiny apartment. The biggest goal I have achieved is forming an LLC and launching my business. Of course, that one is ongoing!”

Read similar testimonials from other graduates here.

Britanie Olvera Austin TexasNearly 90 men walked across the graduation stage this past Friday … one of whom had been released from prison barely 24 hours earlier, but who returned to deliver his business pitch and walk across the graduation stage!

The celebration was joined by the largest crowd in PEP’s history: nearly 70 executive volunteers who had judged the Business Plan Competition that morning, another 50 volunteers who joined us for the graduation ceremony as well as nearly 300 family members. Together, we laughed, we cried, we gave thanks and we stood in awe of the tremendous transformation within the lives of Class “Noble Nineteen.”

One PEP Board Member, Britanie Olvera, summed it up best:

THANK YOU!!! Or Thank God—for putting this program into existence.. it’s such a delight!! I just am sorry I did not get to attend more events this class. Building a business if fine – but building new lives with people is way more important!  PEP is the best ‘environmentally friendly, heart impacting, good for your engine (mind) and carburetor (soul) on the planet’!  It’s  HI OCTANE and I love getting my tanks full of PEP…

Big news! National speaker Jeff Smith will deliver the keynote address for our Class 19 graduation. (If you would like to join us for free, click here)

As he shares in his TED talk (below), Jeff has a very intimate understanding of the need that PEP is addressing in the prison system.

Jeff Smith is Assistant Professor of Politics and Advocacy in the New School’s Urban Policy graduate program, a consultant on affordable housing policy and prison reform, and a frequent public speaker on ethics in politics. Jeff served in the Missouri Senate from 2006-2009 as the nation’s only white state senator from a black-majority district. He is a columnist for City and State and a contributor to The Recovering Politician, a popular new blog for former legislators. He has appeared on CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and Current, and has been profiled by NPR’s “This American Life,” Harper’s, The New Republic, and several other periodicals. He recently gave a TED talk (see here) on prison entrepreneurship, and has published op-ed pieces for CNN, The Atlantic, Salon, Inc., National Journal, Salon, Politico, New York Magazine, Buzzfeed, the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Washington Examiner, and St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Graduation is the culmination of more than five months of hard work by our participants, who were hand-selected from a pool of nearly 10,000 other men across the State of Texas to enter PEP.

PEP Class 19 Graduation
Friday, June 7th
2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Cleveland Correctional Facility
(45 minutes North of Houston)

Featuring a keynote address by former Missouri state senator (and inmate) Jeff Smith

PEP is an entrepreneurial “boot camp” that requires graduates to complete over 1,000 hours of work while developing a complete business plan. In recognition of their accomplishments, graduates will earn a Certificate in Entrepreneurship from Baylor University (learn more about these certificates here).You can learn more about the overall PEP program here.

Come ready to celebrate their accomplishments as these men open the next chapter of their lives!

To register to attend graduation, click here.

To see pictures from the last graduation event, click here.

Whether or not you can attend: Please share your best piece of advice, line of encouragement or favorite quote with our graduates! Click here.

teddy bears

Sponsor a bear — only $15!

Class 18 will graduate on December 7th — and the members of “Extraordinary 18” are very excited that hundreds of their family members will gather to watch them cross the stage in a cap-and-gown.

For some, it will be their first time to ever see their children since they were incarcerated.

One of our special traditions at PEP is providing our men with a teddy bear that we purchase from a national retailer at a bargain price of only $15!!! Our graduates decorate the bears for their kids, and give them to the children as an outward symbol of an inner promise to never return to prison again.

Thankfully, past PEP graduates have already sponsored dozens of these bears. But are opening up this opportunity to the community this year so that each child in attendance at the graduation will receive a bear from their Father.

The cost to you is only $15 — but the impact on the child is beyond value.

If you would like to donate please email Info@PEP.org or go to http://pep.org/bears/.

Thank you for your support!

PEP Graduation

CEO Bert Smith with PEP Graduate

PEP was born on May 24, 2004 — now eight years ago! As we prepare for Class 17 to graduate from our program on June 8, we want to take a moment to thank each of you for making this anniversary possible.

Together, we have helped over 700 men to walk across the graduation stage at PEP! With a diploma in one hand and a business plan in the other, our graduates were released to the world as transformed men.

They are now better fathers to over 2,000 children.

They are more supportive husbands. More loving sons. More faithful friends.

They are dedicated employees — which has helped their PEP brothers to achieve a 100% employment rate within 90 days of release from prison for the past five quarters!

They are hard-working entrepreneurs — which has inspired over 100 of their PEP brothers to actively launch the businesses that they developed while in prison. Today, we have a number of businesses generating 6- and 7-figure sales that were once nothing more than a dream in the heart of a man who sat in prison.

They are inspirations to all of us. While nearly 25% of  Texas prisoners return to prison within three years, fewer than 5% of PEP’s released graduates do so.

Through their commitment to living transformed lives, these men are walking witnesses to the power of PEP’s Ten Driving Values.

Thank you for being a part of the PEP Revolution!

Renew your commitment today with a gift at PEP.org.