28 Dec Rocky A. Class 19 Graduate
I’ll never forget the day I awoke to find myself in a state of darkness I could never have imagined—facing a five year prison sentence. Immediately I began questioning God, “How…” and “Why did this happen to me?” But as quickly as the barrage of questions formed in my mind, I was sobered by His gut-wrenching answer: “It was you!”
Alone in the presence of a righteous God, there was no one else to blame. It was my own lifestyle of self destruction that brought me to this place…and through His mercy I was alive to realize it. While I didn’t know why He saved me, I was thankful for life and determined to do something with it. Many questions remained. I didn’t know how I would begin or what form the road ahead would take, only that the road must be paved with radical transformation. The one thing I did know was resolute: if life afforded me another chance—I WAS DETERMINED TO CHANGE.
I began to pursue transformation in books, TDCJ approved classes and numerous studies. But it was not until I received a postcard to the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) that I truly felt in my heart that the chance I had been praying for all this time was within my grasp. I was transferred to the Cleveland Correctional Center and that is when the truth in transformation became my living reality. PEP provided me with the tools of 10 Driving Values, effective leadership skills and character assessments to apply and stand on in my quest for change.
I made the decision to be released to a PEP transition house in Houston instead of going home to my comfort zone. As promised, PEP met me at the gate; my transition coordinator was waiting for me as I walked out of the Walls Unit a free man. Again faced with overwhelming odds due to an SISP monitor, I was in great need of another chance. The PEP family and network helped me with my basic needs for living along with transportation and proper paperwork as well as employment leads. I very soon landed a position with Building Products Plus while attending eSchool, thanks to PEP.
As of August 2015, I have been employed one year. I have earned three promotions and I have assisted nine PEP brothers with obtaining employment as well. I am grateful for the God-given privilege to be able to grow the PEP network and continue the cycle of giving to men who, like me, are on a quest for change and a better life.
I am learning daily that living “between the wings” is not always perfect and often a struggle. But when life seems to be overwhelming I stop, reflect, and I gather strength and encouragement from this simple truth: PEP is a revolution, a life giving opportunity that results in life-long transformation. Now that is worth living for!
PEP has taught me that the mind grows by taking in, but the heart grows so much more by giving back. Thank you for your gifts to this worthwhile mission. Lives, families and communities are being impacted every day.