Santa’s are on the job in Austin and San Antonio today! (Graduates delivering presents to the children of other PEP men who are still in prison). Merry Christmas to all!
PEP is 100% privately funded. We rely on the generosity of hundreds of individual donors, grant-making foundations, and corporate sponsors to deliver our life-changing mission. And thanks to a recent study from Baylor University, we know that every dollar that these donors give to PEP generates at least a $3.40 return on investment to our community.
PEP is now embarking on an ambitious new plan to dramatically expand our impact. As we announced here, PEP recently launched our in-prison operations within a second prison in Texas. Our goal is to continue to scale our work in our home state until we can reach at least 10% of all of the inmates released from Texas prisons each year.
Today, we are proud to announce that the Scurlock Foundation has awarded PEP a remarkable FIVE-YEAR grant to support this expansion!
As Billy Wareing, a board member for the Scurlock Foundation, states:
“The Scurlock Foundation is honored to partner with PEP in their transformative work to end the cycle of recidivism in Texas prisons and bring hope to inmates who have lost heart. The work that PEP does is redemptive in nature and we believe that God is working through PEP to restore families, bring hope through employment opportunities and ultimately restore all things through His son, Jesus.”
Please join us in thanking the Scurlock Foundation for their tremendous investment in our future!
Posted: December 16, 2014 in About PEP
Tags: Baylor University, entrepreneurship, grant-making foundations, grants, nonprofit, organization, PEP, pep.org, prison, Prison Entrepreneurship Program, prison reform, rethink prison, Scurlock Foundation
PEP has a rather urgent and important Christmastime need. As many of you know, Highland Park United Methodist Church (in Dallas) is the very generous and sole sponsor of our annual Children’s Christmas Project. For several years now we have collected data on the children of the men in our program from their caregivers, we then put that data on a card that is hung on one of several Christmas trees at the church. We return a few weeks later to sort, wrap, mail and deliver hundreds of Christmas wishes to the precious children of the men in our programs. This year we had almost 200 cards on the trees and unfortunately 48 children did not get picked up or chosen so, we are asking you, our most generous friends, to help us fulfill the wishes of these boys and girls ranging in age from 5 to 18. We have 26 boys and 22 girls.
Our brilliant IT Team and one of our executive volunteers worked together to come up with a solution for these needs … they’ve designed a program and online store to help make giving easy. If you’d like to provide gifts for one or more of the children who were not selected, we can give you that opportunity! The way this works is that each of the 48 children’s wishes have been uploaded into this online store, you may simply click on one or more items and know that you are fulfilling the wishes of a child or children. Your gifts for these children are considered directed donations which means that the funds are restricted for the specific gifts you choose, and the money you spend is a legitimate tax deductible donation for which you will receive a letter from PEP (for use with your 2014 tax return).
The money you spend is exclusively for the benefit of a child of one of our participants like 17-year-old LaMarcus, who asked only for a coat and clothes. LaMarcus enjoys studying and playing sports. He was very close to his father and has missed him terribly in the three years he’s been away. Or, there’s five-year-old Destin who loves going to the park and playing games. Destin needs clothes and shoes (her favorite color is pink!), but she’d also love video games. If you’d like to fulfill a wish or two (or three) please visit http://www.pep.mybigcommerce.com/ and start spreading some Christmas cheer!
If you have questions or need assistance, please call Kristie Wisniewski at 713-366-0293.
Thank you and may you and your family have a very blessed and Merry Christmas!
The following was written by PEP Class 18 graduate, John C.
I thank God for putting PEP in my life. I can honestly say that without PEP I would certainly be lost. The program really taught me how to seize the moment, instilling confidence within me. Because of PEP, I know now that I can succeed and that my goals and dreams are attainable.
A great man within PEP once told me that a man without a plan ultimately plans to fail. He let me know that every great business man knows the value of his family, and he is always aware of who is “riding on his bus”.
The invaluable training given to me by PEP on the inside, although mentally straining and severely intense, prepared me for the obstacles sure to come my way upon release. I learned that life is what you make of it. No one is dealt the same hand, and the only thing that matters in the end is how you play the hand you’ve been dealt.
Upon release I was faced with a GPS monitor, parole and probation. I also had two of the most important women in my life play the roles of surrogate parole and probation officers (I love you, Mom!). Along with two AA classes, PEP eSchool, a job, community service and two beautiful children that required much of my attention, there was no time to waste. Losing focus was never an option. But with all my PEP brothers and extended PEP family in my corner rooting me on, success was the only viable outcome. What a great feeling to know that I am not driving a rundown bus on spare tires. Instead, I am chauffeuring a world class charter bus and the passengers are all ready to help me drive if begin to fall asleep.
But I am glad to report that I am not asleep at the wheel. I recently graduated eSchool. I have also successfully completed my parole requirements and have been once and for all cut free from that GPS monitor! I attend AA meetings now, not because I have to, but because it is one of the many practices I believe I should carry on to ensure my continual success.
Honestly, if I can do it, anybody can. All it takes is a little faith in God and the support of amazing people, like those I have in my PEP family.
Thank you for the opportunity to share.
Class 18 Graduate
This year, PEP is very proud to announce that our Houston Employer of the Year is Cedric Hornbuckle … the charismatic leader behind Moved by Love, LLC.
Here are some photos of Cedric at the 2014 Houston eSchool Graduation Dinner. Cedric was recognized at the ceremony for his many contributions to PEP over the years, particularly his service as a mentor and employer to our recently released graduates.
If you’ve kept up with our blog, you have read some amazing stories of life transformation in the past few months.
You have read graduate about Adam C., who shared that PEP taught him that “beauty could rise from the ashes of (a) brokenhearted young man.” You have read graduate Lance N.’s story about how PEP helped him to find his first job (and why he donates to PEP each month). Graduate David F. shared how he had never stayed out of jail for more than a year, but now has been out for more than three years thanks to PEP. Others, like Devon S. and Cristian H. , shared how God has changed their lives through PEP.
And all of that was just in October!
Just imagine the stories that you can make possible over the next year.
The Prison Entrepreneurship Program is rapidly growing. This past August, we launched our operations in a second prison in Texas. By 2015, we might be able to serve nearly twice as many people as we did at the beginning of this year… provided that we have the funding to do so.
You make these stories possible. That is why we are asking for your help today.
We need to raise $190,000 by December 31, 2014.
These funds will ensure that we can launch into 2015 with full force, rapidly expanding our presence both inside of prison and outside of the walls. Your gift will make sure that 100% of our graduates find a job within 90 days of release from prison and that their likelihood of returning to crime drops by 80-90%.
Thanks to the PEP Board of Directors, we have the potential to match every gift!
Where else can you make this kind of impact?
Your gifts matter.
Can we count on you?
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!