MTC Correctional Facility Helps Residents Believe in Themselves
In Part One of this story on the Prison Entrepreneurship Program, or PEP, at Sanders Estes Unit in Venus, Texas, program manager David Flores explained how rigorously learning entrepreneurship values and holding each other accountable helps the participants believe in themselves.
“Once they start believing in themselves, they start seeing that they can handle the homework. They can handle having to study for two tests every week, having to speak to the public, and overcoming that fear of public speaking. A lot of these men also have trust issues. And all of that together gives them hope and helps them to believe in themselves. They start believing they have a chance for a different life when released from prison.”
David Flores knows whereof he speaks. He was once upon a time a resident of the Sanders Estes Unit and a PEP student.
“Coming to prison was the best thing for me. I was able to reflect on what I was doing wrong and what I needed to change. So, PEP opened that door. And I just started taking those small steps.”
Now the program manager, David has proven the lasting change in his life. He not only runs PEP with excellence, but he also uses his success story to inspire the men he serves.
“They really, really respect him,” says former warden Randy Treon. “They like him. He’s done a great job. And they all seem to flourish with him. They all seem to be able to talk to him, and he really connects well with the guys.”
“I just love serving,” explains David. “I love helping people change from the person they used to be to the person that they can be.”
“I’m very much a different person than I was before I came to prison,” states Edward Williams, a current participant in the program. “PEP, itself, gave me a fresh start. During graduation, I won the award for the fresh start outlook. And I take that to heart. I take that to heart. I live that, I sleep that, I talk that, I walk that way.”
Edward will be released from prison very soon, after having served five different sentences – over much of his life.
“Five times coming to this place?” He ponders. “I don’t want to do this no more. I’m really, really tired. But I see nothing but good things in my future. And I have PEP to thank for that. It was something that they didn’t give me. I had it all along. I just needed a little help to find it.”