Students serve time with prison program
Students in the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship in the C.T. Bauer College of Business have been volunteering for years at the Prison Entrepreneurship Program, an entrepreneurial extension of the Texas Prison System, which has graduated more 800 inmates.
Through the Business Plan Advisor Program, MBA students volunteer to teach inmates how to write business plans and pursue their own entrepreneurial ventures.
“This is a remote volunteer program through which MBA students can receive business plans being developed by incarcerated participants in our program,” said Jeremy Gregg, the chief development officer at PEP. “The students provide feedback on the plans and help with market research.”
This outreach program at the Wolff Center is recognized for impacting and transforming the lives of inmates and volunteers.
Al Massey, UH alumnus and executive relations manager for the Prison Entrepreneurship Program, is an example for both volunteers and inmates.
While he was in prison serving a six-year sentence for intoxication manslaughter, he was recruited to participate in the program. After graduating, he stayed on as a peer educator until he was granted parole and released in May 2010. Shortly after, he began working at PEP and has demonstrated how people can be remembered for their positive actions.
“We can all make mistakes when we take risks, and in my first 55 years of life I never thought I would be incarcerated,” Massey said. “PEP changed my character and made me the person that God meant for me to be by making me look at my faults.”
Any student Bauer who is interested in serving the community while gaining both teaching and entrepreneurship experience can look into the opportunity to volunteer through the Wolff Center.
“By being a business plan advisor or by volunteering in other areas with this program, students can help these men realize they are significant,” Massey said. “We cannot be the world to everyone, but we can be the world to one person. By volunteering, students can touch someone’s life and be the world to that person.”