Posts Tagged ‘transcendent 22’

Employment Workshop

Employment Workshop

The 22nd Class of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program will graduate on the afternoon Friday, December 12, 2014 (you can learn more about that event here). That day, these men will complete our 6-month Business Plan Competition and earn their Certificates in Entrepreneurship from Baylor University.

We will give them a few days to rest … but then we bring them back for their final event:

The Class 22 Graduate Employment Workshop
Friday, Dec 19, 2014 from 1:00p-5:00p
Cleveland Correctional Center near Houston, Texas
(Learn more and RSVP here)

At this important event, volunteers (i.e. YOU!) will conduct Mock Interviews with our graduates before they release form prison. This is a great way to prepare our guys for the daunting task of answering “the felony question” in interviews. Plus, it gives them one last chance to polish up their happy dances for when they do land a job.

Help us to maintain a 100% employment rate…. RSVP today!

September 22 newsletter_Final

CLICK HERE to download “PEP Chronicle – Class 22 – 2014-09”

Each month, the incarcerated men in our program work together to create a newsletter about their experience in PEP. Here is the third “PEP Chronicle” from Class #Transcendent 22!

Articles include:

  • Review for the recent “Excellence in Etiquette” event in prison;
  • Recent prison visit by a highly successful business leader who traveled to Texas to learn about PEP and speak to our participants;
  • Board chairmen, Mike Humphrey, who teaches several Harvard MBA case studies in our program;
  • Colleen Rickenbacher, international etiquette guru, who teaches a class in our prison
  • Farewell to PEP Executive Relations Manager, Al Massey
  • Lesson on EOU … “Economics of One Unit”
  • “Where are they now” …. a feature on two recently released graduates.

Click to download PEP Chronicle – September 2014

Below are the names of the Class 22 Participants along with the names of their businesses, the industry in which their businesses operate (with location), and their “jingles.” Enjoy!

OWNER COMPANY INDUSTRY (LOCATION) JINGLE
Casey A. Lone Star Land Management Bulldozer Service (Dallas, TX) Where our design team creates your design dreams.
Eric A. A.R.E. (Allied Renewable Energies) Energy (Nation Wide) We are solving tomorrows problems today so our children won’t have to.
McHenry A. Community Homes Home Remodeling (Houston, TX) Where restoring communities one home at a time is in our design.
Salvador A. Fast & Furious Hot Shot Services Trucking (Midland, TX) Where we offer quality services with a need for SPEED!
Alexander B. First Lady Mobile Boutique Retailer (Houston, TX) Every lady has beauty in them, let us bring it out of you.
Brandon B. All-A-Board! Moving Service Moving (Austin, TX) Whether the move is short or long hauling, All-A-Board! Will safely moves your belongings.
Charles B. Breaking Barriers Linguistics Tutorial (Irving, TX) Where language is never a Barrier!
David B. Grease Patrol Service (Houston, TX) Where we find your grime, to give you a peace of mind.
Joseph B. Salad Topia Food (Houston, TX) A Taste of Perfection!
Marcus B. Tantrum Media & Marketing Marketing (Houston, TX) We are throwing a FIT about getting the attention your business needs.
Michael B. Chefs on the Go Food (San Antonio, TX) Creating memories and smiles one dish at a time.
Michael B. Stonz N’ Such Quality Stonecrafts Construction (Houston, TX) We strive for excellence and our work is guaranteed
Rickie B. Motions Towing and Storage Moving (Dallas, TX) When I move you move, just like that!
Thomas B. Laughing Pelican Bistro (LPB) Food (Houston, TX) HA HA HA,The Laughing Pelican Bistro where the food is no joke!
Walter B. Unique Designs by Walt Flooring (Denton/Amarillo, TX) The guy that not only brings your ideas to life, but builds friendships.
Xavier B. Campus Compass Technology (Houston, TX) Stay Connected!
Aaron C. Upward Call Tree Service & More Tree Trimming (Kerrville, TX) ” Where your call is as important to us as the call from above.”
Christopher C. Sky’s the Limit  (Houston/Dallas, TX) We set the stage high getting to the bottom of your problems.
Crispin C. Crown Commercial Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration A/C (Houston, TX) “No time like comfort time, when your needs are my deeds.”
Edward C. Celistics Barbershop Cosmetology (Fort Worth, TX) Celistics Barbershop; Ensuring flawless & sculpted design each & every time.
James C. Tipsy Taxi Transportation Service (Houston, TX) If you cant drive we’ll keep you alive and make sure your vehicle is by your side!
James C. J’s Lawn Service Service (Crosbyton, TX) If your grass is to high, J’s your guy!
Joseph C. Tex-Mex Labor Solutions Employment (Brownsville, TX) Where solving your labor needs is our specialty.
Julian C. Chop Shop Food (Amarillo, TX) Choppin up the competition, one pork chop at a time!
Richard C. OFF THE STREET FAMILY OUTREACH Counseling (Lockhart, TX) Where we dare to care, by helping change the world we share.
Benjamin D. X-treme Waterpark Entertainment (Lubbock, TX) X-treme Waterpark, where we challenge your strength, agility and endurance in Xtra-ordinary ways.
Dean D. Brand-a-Brand Workshop Brand Development (Houston ,TX) When you need your image to be outstanding, let Build-a-Brand Workshop create your branding.
Jerime D. Sky Voltage Environmental Energy Systems Sales / Services (Houston ,TX) Where you can choose to use your God-Givin Power.
Mark D. A Caring Lawn & Landscape Design landscaping/Service (Houston, TX) Developing relationship, creating smiles, and beautifying our communities one lawn at a time!
Heath E. The Workshop ” Gym and Lounge” Fitness (Richardson, TX) On or off the clock, the workshop is the stop!
Amos F. “Suits You” Landscape & Designs Landscaping/Service (Houston, TX) Proud founder and owner of “Suits You” landscape and designs where we take pride in what we do and the beauty of our skill suits you!
Jarvis F. Fitz Ribs Galore & More Food (Austin, TX) If you wanna satisfy your taste, Fitz Ribs is the place.
Jerry F. Advertising Lighting Plus More Electrical (Fort Worth, TX) Bringing customer to your door one light at a time.
William F. Pic 7 Design Clothing (San Angelo, TX) We’ll make your dreams a REALITY!
Baldomero G. Reliable Trucking Company Trucking (Fort Worth, TX) The best deals on 18 wheels!
Gerard G. Spectrum Commercial Painting Commercial Painting (Dallas, TX) Protecting your brand with trend changing colors and life style enhancements!
Hector G. Precision Cuts Cosmetology (Houston, TX) To have you looking and feeling the best, Precision Cuts is a cut above the rest.
Jamaal G. B-Sure No Ones Left Behind Security Security (Houston, TX) Got to much on your mind, use B-Sure no one’s left behind. Just in case to keep everyone safe
John G. The Master Auto Inspections Automotive (Spring, TX) We keep you rolling
Steven G. This Food Be Blessed Catering Food (Woodland, TX) It would be a blessing catering to you!
Aaron H. Isolated Fragrances Fragrances (Dallas, TX) “Isolate u’r freshness with conservative quality”
Aighirey H. Global Records Entertainment (Dallas, TX) Where our goals is to take your music global
Brandon H. S.H.I.N.E. Records Entertainment (Nashville, TN) Shining through music!
Christopher H. Ecocentric Rendering (Houston, TX) We ensure responsible disposal of your waste vegetable oil.
Dustin H. Gofer.com Service (Houston, TX) If you find yourself out of time, and in a bind, go to GOFER.com where we’ll ease your mind and be your gopher, and we will go for this and go for that.
Frank H. Wall 2 Wall Janitorial Janitorial (Dallas, TX) where we provide quality services for facility care.
Isaac H. Fresh Catch Food (Palacious, TX) For the best catch call FRESH CATCH!
Jeremy H. Handle It Employment Service Staffing (Killeen, TX) Whether looking to employ or looking for employment.
Johnny H. Abstract Electrical and Shocking Designs Electrical (Dallas, TX) Abstract Electric and Shocking Design’s where we help you to unlock the art within your wire in which you desire- call us any hour when you need power and never fear cause we are near
Pedro H. Rollin’ Around Dynamik Sound Entertainment (Houston, TX) When you want to get a ROCKIN’, we’ll get it ROLLIN’ promptly and at your convenience to fully entertain you with what America loves to do.
Stephen H. A-Z Flooring Flooring (Houston, TX) We do it from wall to wall
Adrian J. Cut ‘N’ Up Cosmetology (Houston, TX) When you need it cut down Cut ‘N’ Up is around and when you want it cut right, we’ll cut it on site. This is where quality and convenience unite!
Kenneth J. Burritos & Wrapps Food (Houston, TX) We specialize in Burritos and it’s a Wrap!
Shon J. New Life Landscape Architects Landscaping/Service (Houston, TX) At New Life we bring things to life
Thomas J. Just US Kennels Animal Husbandry (Argo, TX) Dogs? We got Dogs!
Ryan K. Keilman Land Services Arbor care/ Landscaping (Austin, TX) Where we specialize in all Arbor care and landscape design.
Adrian L. Hands On Demand-Massage Therapy Massage Therapy (Houston, TX) Hands On Demands… where when you need a massage… call us, and we’ll get there in a rush!
Juan L. Make It Right Construction & Remodeling Home Remodeling (Lubbock, TX) “Wall to wall we’ll do it all” Top to bottom we remodel!
Randy L. Made In The Shade Construction (Houston, TX) “Don’t let the sun ruin your family’s fun, call Made in the shade… we got you covered.”
William L. Fitness Guru Fitness (Dallas, TX) Improving the quality of life one hour at a time!
 Shu M. Master Massage Healing Massage Therapy (Corpus Christi, TX) Taking the pressure off of life.
Arturo M. The Mobile Masterpiece Art Services (Houston, TX) If you see it and want it, just say it and we’ll spray it.
Barry M. Absolute Paint Painting (Lubbock, TX) Paint… Its not just what we do its our name.
Bryan M. Dr. F.I.N.E. Gym Fitness (Houston, TX) Dr. Fine(discreet, reshaping, for, individuals, needing, exercise) Where if you’re looking for a fresh start- men come to Dr. FINE and we’re show you a caring heart.
Chase M. Print On… Screen Printing (Houston, TX) We print anything in any season on any item within reason
Chris M. New Image Fitness Fitness (Houston, TX) We generate total transformation through Fitness and innovation
Christopher M. Dynamic Interior Resolutions Construction / Cabinetry (Dallas / Fort Worth, TX) We offer resolve from the inside out.
Eric M. Texas Bug Bullies Pest Control (Dallas, TX) We are here to eliminate what’s buggin’ you!
Everitt M. Superior Surfaces Flooring (Humble, TX) “We Provide elegance for life”
Joseph M. CHIPPER’S Tree Trimming Services Tree Trimming (Houston, TX) Where we are rooted in giving TREE-mendous service.
Lamarcus M. Moore Sweet Bakery and Café Food (Irving, TX) If you want Moore treat, we have Moore Sweet’s
Martin M. Refined, Restoration & Real Estate  (Cleburne, TX) Restoring the American Dream one house at a time.
Scott M. Stacked Living Movers & Storage Moving (Conroe, TX) We will move your whole world!
Russell N. Contacts to Contracts Construction / Sales (Deer Park, TX) Here is the deal, let’s us do what we do, Contacts to Contracts, will work for you!
Juan O. J.O.’s Handyman Service Constuction (San Antonio, TX) Where we are not your average Joe.
Labarros O. Exquisite Wear and Accessories  (Dallas, TX) “Where you do not just show up, You Stand Out!”
Barry P. Acumen Medical Group, L.L.C. Medical (Houston, TX) When you get sick, you’re not alone. Our doctors treat you in your home.
Brian P. Capital City’z Fitness Foods Food (Austin, TX) Providing healthy food to keep your body running smooth.
Cary P. Beyond Beauty and Cuts Cosmetology (Houston, TX) Where you are treated like family no Ifs, Ands, or Buts!
Emanuel P. Lost Memories Photography Photography (Dallas, TX) We freeze memories so you can have them for a lifetime.
Enrique P. Execution Freight System Trucking (Fort Worth, TX) where we specialize in the transportation of your material.
Gabriel P. Revoltz Paintballing Entertainment (Robstown, TX) Where nothing else matters, but painting memories.
Nicholas P. Don Milano Fashion Attire (Houston, TX) Don’t just be confident, wear your confidence by Don Milano
Samuel P. Precise Logistics Trucking (Dallas, TX) Because our mission is to move your freight with precision.
Javier Q. J.J.’s Playground & Accessories  (Dallas, TX) Where we unfold a backyard adventure for your children’s and more.
Alfonzia R. Smooth Sailing Limo Transportation Public Transportaion (DFW, TX) Smooth Sailing Limo Transportation arrive in style to your destination!
Carlton R. Real Estate to Innovate Home Remodeling (Houston, TX) Where building your dreams is our way of life
Denny R. Precision Commerical Services INC. Construction (Wolfe City, TX) where better building for your business is our business.
Joe R. JORO Herbicide Spraying Service Herbicide (Freeport, TX) Let us know your location, we handle agrilcuture and vegetation.
Jose R. Helping Hands for Harboring Hearts Transional Housing (Houston, TX) A place where bad past and new beginning cross, is Helping Hands for Harboring Hearts!
Jose R. The Beach Bum Water Sports Service (Corpus Christi, TX) When life is a beach, we’re #1 for fun under the sun!
Jose R. YourEvent.com Event Planning (Houston, TX) Where every memory starts with an event… Your Event!
Martin R. Marty Marts Mobile Custom Washing & Detailing Car Detailing (Pasadena, TX) If your running late, or you just don’t have the time, call on Marty Mart and we will give your car a shine.
Marty R. Pay It Forward Welding & Fabrication Welding (Houston, TX) With us it’s a win win situation!
Todd R. Structe Roofing & Exteriors Home Remodeling (Conroe, TX) When your roof is leaking and your paint is inferior. Just call the guys at Structure Roofing & Exterior.
William R. Coast 2 Coast Transport Trucking (Houston, TX) Doing what we love to do, for you!
Arthur S. Good Steward Janitorial Service Janitorial (Dallas, TX) “We’re the Best at cleaning your Mess, Put us to the Test and we’ll do the Rest.”
Christopher S. Kairos Smooth Taste Food (Houston, TX) There’s nothing smoother, than a Kairos Smoothie
Corey S. Reliable Remodeling & Renovations Home Remodeling (Beaumont, TX) If you can conceive it, we’ll  achieve it!
Dantonio S. Date Nites Entertainment (Fort Worth, TX) Tired of going on boring dates? Tired of boring on-line dating sites? Come hang with us at DateNites
Harold S. MircoTechs, INC. Technology (Dallas, TX) We Support Technology
James S. Bama’s BBQ and Catering Services Food (Houston, TX) Bama’s deeps south BBQ!
Johnathon S. New Beginnings Social Development (Houston, TX) Where we destroy bad habits and create new ones!
Roderick S. Eazy Deal Motors Car Sales (Dallas, TX) Where we make buying your car Eazzzy
Bobby T. BlackFriday.com Retailer (Austin, TX) “You don’t have to wait until after Thanksgiving for the biggest sale of the year. Just visit BlackFriday.com, where you can find end-of-the-year sales, year round.”
Demetri T. G.O.D.L.I.F.E. MusicGroupInc. Entertainment (Houston, TX) “God’s melody beats in the heart of man, and our purpose, is to sound it through the surface”
Larry T. Advantage Auto Sales Car Sales (Houston, TX) Come on by Advantage Auto where everybody has a chance to drive away in a new car.
Wayne T. We Cut 4 You Cosmetology (Houston, TX) It’s no other substitute for what we do, we cut for you!
Willie T. Serenity Outreach Society Substance Abuse (Montgomery County) Transforming today’s youth into tomorrows leaders.
Edgar V. Cup of Art Coffee Shop Beverage / Gallery (Houston, TX) At Cup of Art Coffee Shop we believe that a great cup of coffee is meant to be experienced like a a great work of art, in a hip atmosphere and at the right price. Now, that’s a good value.
Rodolfo V. Unique Touch Scratch and Dent Removal Automotive (Houston, TX) IF you got a scratch or dent that needs repair, call Unique Touch we’ll get someone there!
Decorian W. The Sports Lounge Food (Arlington, TX) Come on down to the Sport Lounge’s where you, family and friends can have fun again!
Dylan W. Executive Brothers Catering Food (Dallas, TX) Professional service & exceptional quality, for the executive environment
Houston W. Finishing Touch Make Ready (Houston, TX / Dallas, TX) When the moving mess becomes too much call the Pro’s at Finishing Touch.
James W. Global Mobile Faster Food Food (Houston, TX) We hear your voices for a variety of choices
Jason W. Foxhole Entertainment Gaming (Houston, TX) “Where we bring competitive gaming to its FINEST”
John W. HeartFelt Deliveries Vocal Service Entertainment (Vernon, TX) If you feel it, we’ll express it. Where no other service, can contest it!
John W. Curb Appeal Customs Construction (Dallas, TX) Where we make dreams real, and give homes curb appeal.
Justice W. Justice Comfort Homes Construction / Insulations (Houston, TX) If you want a comfortable home, just ask for JUSTICE.
Leslie W. 1st M-Pression Chair Designer (Houston, TX) Where we do our best to release your stress
Marrin W. Special-T. Screen Printing Silk Screen (Henderson, KY) If t-shirts is what you need, we design extraordinary Tees to pleases.
Terrance W. Bulzye Pressure Washing Power Washing (Lufkin, TX) A new business on a mission to provide a fair rate price keeping customers happy with their homes or business looking nice.
Antonio Z. C.H.R. Custom Home Remodeling Construction (Houston, TX) We’re Innovation start at your front door.

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 7

Monday (18 August 2014)

Get to the Point

Get to the Point

Today in Toastmasters, Class 22 began our third round of speeches on project number three called “Get to the Point.” Every speech must have a general and specific purpose to inform, persuade, entertain or inspire. The purpose is what helps to organize your speech. We have also learned that choosing a topic that interests us individually helps create enthusiasm about the speech and its subject matter. If you show passion, then your audience will be more engaged. When the audience is interested, then they are more willing to consider your point of view.

As a team we have come a long way in a short period of time. The more speeches we prepare for the more confident we will be when it comes time to stand in front of those executive panels again.

Tuesday (19 August 2014)

Prior participants. “Used by permission from Tamir Kalifa / Texas Tribune.”

Prior participants. “Used by permission from Tamir Kalifa / Texas Tribune.”

We enjoyed the day off from class in the PEP room, but as everyone knows our time is still full of studying and writing, whether it’s our business plans or our letters to our loved ones. There is never a dull moment, and for some that is a blessing. Looking around I see PEP brothers helping others with the study packet that Bert S. gave us last week. None of us could have ever guessed that being in this place would bring about smiling faces and encouragement.

To see people supporting one another is really fitting since we have all vowed to be our brothers’ keepers. Every day we get closer and closer to our graduation and the bonds of unity get stronger and stronger. Some of us have been searching for this our entire lives. This is becoming a true brotherhood that we can depend on.

Wednesday (20 August 2014)

Entrepreneurship A Small Business Approach textbook

Our textbook

Good morning PEP! I’m sitting in the computer lab looking around as brothers stare into their screens learning Microsoft Word, Excel and Power Point. This is just another great advantage that PEP gives us. It’s great to get the opportunity to become a little more computer savvy, since many of us have never really learned any computer skills.

Yep, you guessed it: time to put everything under our seats for the test. Our knowledge was tested over Chapter 5: Developing a Mission Statement. Looking around, the brothers seemed very confident that they have prepared well and this test will be a piece of cake. Bert S. gave a lecture on the Economics of One Unit (EOU). We have been hearing a lot of intimidating stories about the EOU test, but the way Bert S. explained it, it does seem fairly simple. Looking around the PEP room, confidence is still in the brothers’ eyes. We know that this EOU test coming up is nothing compared to the dedication, perseverance and discipline that we bring to the table. We are Transcendent 22.

Thursday (21 August 2014)
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If I could describe the atmosphere in the PEP computer lab today for Transcendent 22, it would definitely be that of execution. That is one of PEP’s 10 Driving Values that we strive to live out each and every day. Men who have never turned on a computer before are now completing assignments. It takes a lot of self discipline to execute these assignments. I see a lot of interaction with all the brothers since each has his own obstacles to overcome. Each time we step into the computer lab, we become more knowledgeable and gain a better understanding of the business world. This is what it is going to take to become a successful entrepreneur.

Friday (22 August 2014)

Wow! Another week has flown by in the PEP world. Decorian W. prayed us in with a prayer of healing going out to PEP graduate Bobby Colombo. Aaron C., Johnny H., Marty R, and Decorian W. all celebrated birthdays today. Guess where they went? You’re right, to the back of the room! Just when you think you have seen all the dance moves, new ones are created.

Peter N. took us through the next assignment in our business plan which was “Market, Competition and Differentiation.” This deals with general facts about the business, whom we compete against and how we will create a competitive advantage. We also learned a little more about the EOU’s from Alex L. and Pat M. as they went over the revenue model and the income statement. There were a lot of questions, but when all the dust settled we walked out of the PEP room one lesson closer to becoming an entrepreneur.

Expressions

The PEP 10 Driving Values

The PEP 10 Driving Values

Servant-Leaders are a rare species. For over two thousand years people have studied the Master. Whether you are a person of faith or not, there is no denying the fact that Jesus was a great example of a leader who served all those around Him. There are leadership professionals, coaches, executives and speakers that are making money every day trying to implement these principals into the lives of those in businesses, schools, churches and any other organization that wills to succeed. However, the key element is love. Without love all our efforts are seen as self-seeking and not genuine.

Every day we have a responsibility to add value to those around us. Sometimes that comes in the form of edification, but it also comes in the form of correction. The transformation that takes place in the men’s lives in this place is extraordinary, and there is nothing like this anywhere in the world.

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 6

Monday (11 August 2014)

It is an unavoidable and necessary reality that on Mondays our class gets a little smaller. For some, their journey is not yet one of the challenges being conquered through self-examination and a peer-driven curriculum. PEP is not for everyone and that is alright.

At this point, all of us are getting more familiar with all the procedures of Toastmasters, and we are able to execute our roles assigned by the elected officers. The speeches are getting better and the nerves are settling, week by week. Content and confidence permeate each session. Monday is also another great time for us to utilize the computer lab and learn how to operate some of the programs. These skills are new for some and simply a review for others. At the end of each class, we get the much-needed time to look through market research for our business plans.

Tuesday (12 August 2014)

we must live together as brothers or perish together as fools

Members of a prior class.

What is a day off for those in PEP? It’s time to study for Wednesday’s tests and keep honing our Venture Capital Panel (V.C.P.) presentation for Friday which looms just over the horizon. Groups form in the dorms where orange folders brighten up the normally drab atmosphere of the dayroom. The conversations about business and tests are floated around and food is shared; unity through a common journey is developed. We are not Black, White, Hispanic or Asian; we are all brothers who want to cross the finish line and leave nobody behind. PEP is always a force of motion and it stops for no one. As Class 22 proceeds toward graduation, our environment is changed by the arrival of those slated for Class 23. They are the ones who will follow in our footsteps as they shake off the “coach ride” courtesy of TDCJ. It’s custom for graduates and participants to greet the new arrivals with a friendly welcome. This is not done in a normal TDC setting, so everyone is a bit reluctant and cautious. Soon they realize that this a different kind of life, and the journey is just beginning.

Wednesday (13 August 2014)

This day of the week seems to always come quickly and with it the nervousness of test day. Participants enter the room and collect their name badges, ready to meet and greet one another. After a few minutes everyone jockeys for position in the homework line. All assignments must be turned in before pray-in to avoid more homework. After the inspirational reading, we all sit down and put everything under our seats. Clipboards are passed out along with the tests and — for those who are unprepared — the much-anticipated reckoning becomes a reality. Silence is broken only by writing instruments scratching across paper. Each person knows that his fate this week depends on his performance: we each need to score a 70 or better. All those who fail to meet the mark will inevitably have a sore hand due to lots of writing.

As always, we rise to our feet having completed the test to greet and welcome Bert S. so we can start the day’s lesson. There is no avoiding the fact that the curriculum is becoming more challenging and demanding more thought. This sparks a lot of class discussion on competitive advantage, market strategy and all things business. The “Issues and Tissues” session always brings about the same result: smiles and frowns.

Thursday (14 August 2014)

Class 21 VCP

A Prior Participant Receives Feedback on His Pitch From Executive Volunteers.

Pitches and paperwork were the order of the day for Class 22. Some volunteered to go before the class and practice their pitch while others were chosen. Most were great and showed much thought, preparation and practice. Some needed a little more development before the upcoming event. If one of our brothers went before the class and started to freeze up, we would clap and cheer as a demonstration of solidarity in moments of struggle. Sometimes this is all that is needed to motivate and inspire. The end of the day was met with cheers as we were reminded of the importance of the following day. V.C.P. was no longer a date to think about, but a reality less than 24 hours away. It will take nerves of steel to get a good night sleep tonight.

Friday (15 August 2014)

The day has come and with it all the excitement and nerves that always seem to be part of the vibe during events. Everyone was in his best pair of pajamas and ready to present a brief 2 ½ to 3 minute synopsis on his business plan to grab the attention of the executives and hopefully start a dialogue. However, before all of the festivities started we were all given something to add to our arsenal of professionalism: business cards. Our pictures were cast alongside our business name and jingle giving us the first tangible piece of evidence toward what we hope to accomplish. The majority of us have never had a business card and it brought an overwhelming sense of earned pride. It wasn’t long before the music started and the lights were flashing for the executives who were starting to file into the PEP room. They were met with high fives, handshakes and cheers as we prepared to start our second event. It was not long before Bert grabbed the microphone and took charge of the situation to bring order and organization. After the dance team showed their moves and an overview of the day was explained, we were all counted and separated into our room assignments. Each member of the panel would be given an evaluation sheet to help the participants improve their performance. The day closed with more dancing and cheers. Heartfelt stories were told by participants as well as volunteers, and it was hard to avoid the emotions that flooded the room. You can’t experience this anywhere else in the world.

Saturday (16 August 2014)

No rest for the weary; we were called out to the PEP room early Saturday morning for our third event. We had an opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation with the volunteers in order to discuss our concepts or just build bonds. The mood in the PEP room was energetic as always, but with a drowsy side. Thanks to loud music, servant-leaders and Pat M’s dance motivation routine, the energy was turned up. We saw new faces as the executives were greeted, and most were a little nervous and still not sure what to expect from over a hundred men in blue pajamas acting so happy. A lot of the new faces represent Teach for America. This group of dedicated volunteers have taken typical educational placement and thrown all the rules out the window in order to make an impact in areas where some will not venture. Needless to say, they inspired us. It was obvious that they have the skills and compassion to teach even the hardest cases with their ability to listen and nurture others. Everyone gained great feedback from the great minds that volunteer to come and add value to our lives.

Expressions

every man dies but not every man truly lives

Image from prior class.

Another week in the books as we all take in all that has taken place in the last few days. You never know what to expect from PEP. The most unlikely people will speak life into you, and it will change your whole outlook. Never did anyone come to this program thinking that it would impact them in the way that it has already in just a few short months. The revolution that we have all embraced as our own is making the impossible seem possible, one day at a time. From servant-leaders to Class 23 participants just arriving on the Unit, we are a band of brothers becoming the men we were created to be, and each one is an important piece of the puzzle. It will not be complete if one is missing. So we will stay the course and never give up! The work is definitely worth the reward.

 

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 5

Monday (04 August 2014)

Toastmasters International

Toastmasters International

Once again, Transcendent 22 started the week with Toastmasters. Many are still anxious about public speaking, but everyone is getting better. We can already see how the fellow Toastmasters are beginning to work together by supporting each other. Most still have the uneasiness of speaking in front of a group, but the order of the meetings is getting smoother and looking sharper each week. Keep up the good work Class 22!

Tuesday (05 August 2014)

The computer lab is an important part of the class and a valuable resource that we have started to use. Robert, Grady and Peter are doing a great job in assuring a productive environment as we plod along through the lessons which, by the way, are fun and effective. After lunch put the finishing touches on our Coat of Arms.  We also took photos for our business plans and for our business cards. Each participant confirmed their jingle and business name. It’s all starting to become a reality, one step at a time.

Wednesday (06 August 2014)

Tissue, anyone? (Image via Creative Commons)

Tissue, anyone? (Image via Creative Commons)

Test day! Before we begin tackling the workload we always like to take some time to get all the birthday brothers to the back of the room. Then there was no talking and everything had to go under our seats, because – you guessed it – it was time to test everyone’s knowledge on Chapter 3 and all the handouts. While our scores were being compiled, Bert broke down Chapter 4 and, as usual, did a great job. Transcendent 22 was fully engaged and interested in the discussion. Of course, next on the agenda was the awaited “issues and tissues.” Like always, tests bring joy and tears. Let’s keep marching forward, Transcendent 22!

Thursday (07 August 2014)

Israel was back with us today and this time he brought Max to help us with all of our re-entry questions. While we have lost our “gangsta ways,” Max claimed that he is working on “becoming a little more gangsta.” He wasn’t up for any dancing, but he was hilarious. We filled out our re-entry forms and enjoyed the history videos about how our country was formed. Innovation is really part of the fabric of this country.

PEP's Manager of In-Prison Initiatives, Pat McGee

PEP’s Manager of In-Prison Initiatives, Pat McGee

Friday (08 August 2014)

We began by receiving instructions on the assignments handed out to us regarding our brochures and logos. Pat M. then asked for 10 volunteers to come to the front of the class, but there was no telling what he has in mind. The last time it turned out to be a dance crew. Today it turned out it was the beginning of our brothers giving their Venture Capital Plan (VCP) pitches. The first 10 quickly turned into 30 as people started to realize that this was the perfect opportunity to get over the fear of public speaking. We ended the day watching a video on George W. Bush and the mark he left on the country during his presidency. Another week in the books for Transcendent 22!

Expressions

There is no greater joy in life than to add value to the lives of the people around you. Over the course of this journey learning how to become a true servant-leader is hard and it goes against everything this world teaches us. It’s amazing to see the metamorphosis take place. This revolution is changing men from the inside out. Transformation from the old life and mind-set to the next will prove to be the hardest road some will ever travel. Along the way we begin to realize that the most deadly traps are the ones we set for ourselves. PEP gives us the tools and the vision to avoid those traps and to pull our brothers out of harm’s way as well. We lead to see others succeed.

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!!

EXPRESSIONS

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.

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 3

Monday (July 21, 2014)

Michael P. opened Toastmasters with a special prayer for Bobby C. of Class 9, who was in a bad motorcycle accident. We each gave a four to six minute speech called the “Ice Breaker.” Some of the guys were naturals at public speaking, while others had probably never spoken in front of a group of people before. You could feel both excitement and nervousness as we each got up and delivered our speeches. The ice breaker was a good topic because a lot of guys shared their backgrounds, interests and ambitions which allowed us as a whole to learn something about each other.

Tuesday (July 22, 2014)

We are moving along in our efforts to learn more about what is necessary to put together a proper business plan. One of our servant-leaders took to the lectern to give a PowerPoint presentation about what we would be expected to have completed in three weeks for the next big event, the Venture Capital Panel (VCP). We will need a company name, jingle, strategy and practiced pitch. In order to do those tasks we will look to our peers for help and support.

HAnding out grades

A prior PEP class (handing out test grades)

Wednesday (July 23, 2014)

The wait is over. The tests have started, and for some it’s reckoning day. Basic Business, chapters one and two were the order of the day as Bert S. came to see what we had retained. A test and a pop quiz – “welcome to PEP!” was the battle cry from the lips of our servant-leaders, who not long ago occupied our seats. After the tests, Bert presented the class with our lesson and took questions from us. There was no lack of ability or motivation to participate. Servant-leaders graded our tests as we continued to learn today’s material.

Thursday (July 24, 2014)

Transcendent 22 met at noon and it was Pat M. who was conducting the class. We were given our family liaison forms to fill out with the three people that we want PEP to contact. We were to evaluate the relationships with our family members now and in the future so that insight could be gained into how to approach those family members with love. Additionally, we filled out forms for our children to receive Christmas gifts, which is a true blessing. Israel gave a great presentation on accountability which really resonated with those who are still skeptical. The brotherhood is going strong as we saw photos of PEP brothers doing life outside. Whether it was skydiving or lending a helping hand to a brother in need, the network is held together tightly with love and accountability.

Expressions

With the first few weeks on the books, I have watched as my PEP brothers have settled in to different roles everywhere. Servant-leaders have stepped up to fill the voids left by those gone home and to the Venus unit, but the greatest joy has been to watch as the PEP revolution starts to work its way inside even the worst of critics. Day by day we see the lights come on, the hope resurrected and the camaraderie formed as men start to unlock the gifts that God has placed inside of them. Class 22 is on pace to transcend all those before it, and it is up to every man to make sure nobody is left behind.

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 2

Monday (July 14, 2014)

Toastmasters International

Today is the first day of Toastmasters for Transcendent 22.Toastmasters is an international organization that helps people improve their public speaking skills. Looking around the room, I see anticipation and excitement on the faces of my classmates. The class is very large and we are squeezed together tightly in a semicircle around the room in multiple rows. Servant-leaders demonstrate the duties we will assume in future meetings. Rolando T. opened with the definition of a servant-leader, Jerry H. was the Toastmaster for today and Mr. Arnold was our distinguished guest. Mr. Arnold, our public speaking mentor, talked about what it means to be a servant-leader. Andrew T. spoke on the importance of Toastmasters and the role it plays in the business plan competition. At the end of the day, we elected our own presidents for each session and vice presidents for each Toastmasters group.

Tuesday (July 15, 2014)

PEP Classroom with Coat of Arms

PEP Classroom with Coat of Arms

It was Throwback Tuesday for Transcendent 22. We took a trip down Nostalgia Boulevard and participated in arts and crafts. Glue sticks, glitter and stickers lay out on tables ready to be used for creating a “Coat of Arms.” We were tasked with creating our own personal Coat of Arms that would reflect the personality of each class member. For some this was a painful reminder of a lost youth, but for most it was smiles and yet another chance to build bonds with people who were strangers just weeks ago.

The day was not all arts and crafts, though. We were introduced to the resume and personal story portions of the business plan. We also continued to focus on our character. We will put into writing personal characteristics and flaws that need work. All these activities are important to the PEP development cycle that leads to success in business, as well as on a deep personal level. To be bankrupt in one aspect of life is to be bankrupt in all of life.

Bert Smith Teaching in PEP

Bert Smith Teaching a Prior Class in PEP

Wednesday (July 16, 2014)

Class 22 was all ears today as CEO Bert S. (a.k.a. Chocolate Truffles) arrived to deliver the inaugural lesson and show a glimpse of what lies ahead. There is no doubt about it: the next several months promise to bring stress, homework, sleepless nights and unrelenting assignments. Having the lessons delivered by a real professional, though, makes this adventure so very worth it! We are lucky to have such an incredible opportunity. To Bert, Class 22 sends a Transcendent thank you!

Entrepreneurship A Small Business Approach textbook

Our textbook

Thursday (July 17, 2014)

Wow, an unexpected day off! Well, that gives us more time to study and catch up on homework. Everybody on the dorm is digging into his entrepreneurship book or practicing the icebreaker speech for Toastmasters on Monday. A day off from the classroom doesn’t mean a day off from the books, especially with business plan assignments and our Venture Capital Panel event approaching.

Expressions

Days of rest and weekends go unwritten, but the journal of our journey never stops. Transformation comes etched in our hearts as we grow in little ways, the dark, the empty and the large. Like peaks and valleys, activity is easily seen on the mountaintops, but much life and growth spring from the hidden paths. Schedules will change, curriculum will range from business to character development, activity will pick up and slow down, and people will come and go. Let it all be etched at all times throughout all of you. These are the depths, the steps, the work and rest, and the breaths of Transcendence.

Great news! Photos are now available from the Class #Transcendent 22 Kickoff … as well as their headshots and some special images from a recent Houston Press article on PEP!

See the whole gallery here:
http://prisonentrepreneurshipprogram.zenfolio.com/class22

Special thanks to our long-time photographer, Israel Thompson, for these amazing images. We especially love this shot of three graduates who now work for PEP …. Al Massey (Executive Relations Manager), Marcus Hill (Recruiter), and Charles Hearne (Development Associate).

Most PEP Staff members are also graduates, including Al Massey, Marcus Hill and Charles Hearne.

Most PEP Staff members are also graduates, including Al Massey, Marcus Hill and Charles Hearne.