DISPATCHClass 13: Week 7
March 12, 2010
“Mama Shaw,” a Class V graduate, also now a PEP re-entry coordinator, works to ensure that all of our needs are taken care of once we are released back into society. From giving us a ride home once we are released, taking us out for our first meal, taking us to the Attorney General, taking us to get a driver’s license or just being a friend in a time of need—he is always there. He explained to us what we are to expect of parole and what transitional housing is like. Thank you Mama Shaw for all that you do.
“Granny” showed us a PowerPoint presentation on how to complete the portion of our business plans entitled Market, Competition, and Differentiation.
Additionally, we were blessed with Paul’s character training, as well as “Poodle Doo’s” class on ethics and its importance in life and business.
Tuesday February 23, 2010 – Our full day started out with time in the computer lab working on our business plan documents, Microsoft Office and typing lessons.
After that we all assembled in the PEP room to hear some updates and fill out some paper work for Mama Shaw.
Today we received certificates for completing a parenting seminar that was taught by special executive guests, Arlene and her husband.
“Bring on the test” was the attitude we all had as we were given a test on Chapter 9 (Cash Flow: The Lifeblood of Business). Then our friend and teacher, Jose, prepared us for Chapter 12 (Raising Capital: Tracking Debt and Equity on the Balance Sheet). Sweet Marbles prayed us out.
Wednesday February 24, 2010 – After two hours in the computer lab we all assembled in the PEP classroom for our family liaisons, Teresa and Laura. These two are angels from heaven. They help many of us get back in touch with our families and help them get up here for graduation. They put in countless hours and days as they put all of their hearts into their work of reuniting us.
To top off the day, we were chosen from of the class of 79 participants and give our venture capital pitch. PEP is not for the weak.
Thursday February 25, 2010 – Work is an important part of life, and it should be fun and rewarding. We seek to create a work environment that encourages laughter, imagination, fellowship, and creativity. We regularly celebrate positive results and recognize those involved in the success, and today we celebrated with a movie.
But first we had to take care of our priorities as we were given a pop name quiz in which we were given a piece of paper with everyone in class’ picture and we had to write their names below their picture.
We also received our Chapter 9 test results, had some participants tryout for a talent show during the event, and then Jose prayed us out.
Friday February 26, 2010 – Event Day! Venture Capital Panel (VCP) is finally here and we were called out around noon to prepare for the event that started at 2:00 p.m.
When the guests arrived they were greeted warmly. After being prayed in, we danced down the middle of the room and gave our jingles (a quick catchy phrase, like a commercial for our business). To much of their surprise, the executives had to dance up and introduce themselves as well.
Lollipop (Class IX graduate) gave a heartfelt testimony of what his first VCP experience was like and the transformation he went through as he crossed over from a place of despair and being labeled by society, to a place of hope and joy where successful business people come to take part in metamorphosis and bring about healing. He also spoke about what the day would look like after he quoted from the PEP mission statement and said, “We are here so that executives and inmates unite through entrepreneurial passion, education, and mentoring.”
Johnny (Class XII graduate) gave further instructions on how we would be pitching and what rooms for us all to go to. The time we had been waiting for had come.
We stood in front of a panel of three or four executives and gave a two to three minute pitch describing our business. Then we received feedback and advice from the panel on how to improve upon our plan.
After the panels we had sweet time and more testimonies. We also had time for reflection and got up on the microphone to publicly thank the executives. The executives also expressed themselves and received sweet names before praying out.
Saturday February 27, 2010 – Concept Day began by sitting down and having one-on-ones with the executives, discussing our business concept and getting expert advice. We even bonded and talked a little about life.
Something of a miracle happened! We broke for an awesome lunch of delicious baked potatoes with butter, cheese, sour cream, onions and chopped barbeque beef, a real treat. During lunch “Tia” (Class X) and “Peach Fuzz” (Class XII) gave tear-jerking testimonies and painted a picture of just how far they have come in life and how far they are going with this new opportunity.
We finished the day with two outstanding performances from our very own Class 13 brothers Pumpkin Pie, Bubbles, Tootsie, Whitney, Sweet Ooey, and Gizmo who received standing ovations.
Something is happening inside my heart. The very fact that all of these rich and successful business people come and take an interest in my life is having profound effects on my soul.
Class 13 has come a long way. We are fueled by the love of so many people who want to help us. Their compassion is overwhelming and drives us to succeed.
Not to mention the love of PEP staff, people such as Theresa, Laura, Kami, Kristyn, Kristie, Phi, Nelson, Andrew, Gami, Marcus, Max, Pat, Davis, David, Edison, Matthew, Jose, Mike, and Paul play a key role in our transformation. They work very hard and we are grateful for them all.
All these caring people give, asking nothing in return, other than that we not give up.
We are redeemed men, the fruit of PEP.