Posts Tagged ‘united way of metro dallas’

Check out this awesome video by the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas that profiles PEP Class 6 graduate Kevin R., the founder and CEO of a limousine and car-for-hire services in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Thanks to support from PEP, Kevin launched his transportation business earlier this year. He has already generated over $30,000 in the first four months of operations and is preparing to add a second car soon.

Most importantly, Kevin has maintained a great relationship with his son (as he wrote previously here).

Please join us in congratulating Kevin (and thanking the United Way for this great video)!

The Praline King LogoThere is nothing sweeter than the taste of redemption… especially when it comes in the form of homemade candy!

Ronald T. graduated last June from the Prison Entrepreneurship Program. He was released from prison in August 2013, moved immediately into a PEP transition house in the Dallas area and quickly found a great job working for another PEP brother’s business. Everything seemed headed in the right direction … but there was something missing.

PEP had unlocked Ronald’s passion for starting his own business. Although he knew that it would be a difficult path — particularly as he began earning more and more money in his day job as an electrician — he decided to pursue his own startup a few months after release from prison.

Thanks to the support of the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, PEP has hired a full-time Small Business Specialist to help our graduates launch, grow and sustain their own ventures. This role is filled by Wilbert Peter, an experienced entrepreneur and marketing guru (who just happens to be a former PEP graduate).

Ronald T. and Wilbert Peter

Ronald T. and Wilbert Peter

Originally from Louisiana, Ronald worked with Wilbert to turn his passion for homemade, New Orleans-style candy into a real business. Wilbert helped Ronald to develop the business plan, refine his products, launch a Web site and recruit his first customers. Wilbert also coached Ronald through the process of incorporating his business, securing all of the necessary licenses and building a solid infrastructure through his business.

“We’re not just selling candy; we’re building a brand,” says Wilbert.

With this solid foundation in place, Ronald launched The Praline King right before Christmas. His initial sales came from the PEP network, which allowed Ronald the opportunity to test the viability of his different products and refine his concept.

Earlier this year, thanks to the encouragement of Wilbert and several PEP supporters, Ronald began focusing on selling to restaurants and other companies that could carry his product. He has now landed several corporate accounts and built his monthly revenues to as high as $7,000 in a single month.

Ronald is still working full-time as an electrician, but his goal is to build his business to the point where it provides permanent jobs to himself and other PEP brothers. His aspiration is to place his products in restaurants and grocery stores nationwide, where his remarkable recipes can take the taste of his hometown around the country.

Please check out The Praline King — “it’s like Mardi Gras in your mouth!”

Moving InGreat news … the Prison Entrepreneurship Program just acquired a new housing community in the East Dallas area!

Thanks in great part to our recent partnership with the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, PEP has tripled our capacity in the North Texas area. This new home will ensure that we continue to provide a safe, supportive environment for our graduates after they are released from prison.

For previously incarcerated people, finding a safe place to live can be a significant challenge. Very few communities will consider renting a home or an apartment to someone with a prior felony. Worse still, the few housing options that are available tend to be located in communities with a disproportionate level of crime, drugs and gang activity. This can make it very difficult for an ex-offender to rebuild their lives (particularly considering the additional challenges that they face when seeking employment).

Your support of PEP ensures that 100% of our graduates are employed within 90 days of release from prison (in fact, nearly 3/4 of them are employed within the first month!). Your gifts also provide nearly 2/3 of them with the ability to move into PEP’s own transitional homes.

Now, thanks to the addition of this new housing community, we can provide affordable housing to 24 more graduates at any time.

But we still need your help to truly transform this house into a home!

  • The house is currently empty … not a stick of furniture! We need to raise $12,000 to purchase the beds necessary to house all 24 of our graduates. Until we can provide these beds, we cannot get approval from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to move them there. You can donate here.
  • Even if we have the beds … they will not have sheets! We have a registry at Target where you can purchase the housewares and other items that our graduates need. See the full list at
  • This Saturday, March 8, 2014, we are hosting a “Paint and Picnic” party to get the place ready for our new residents. The event will be from 11:00am til 5:00pm, and we will be cooking burgers, painting and more. If you are interested in joining us, please email Jeremy Gregg at and he can send you the address.

Thank you for your support of PEP. Together, we are transforming prison!