DEUCE Community Update: April 2023
A Message from Campbell (Co-Founder)
Every Sunday evening, we have a house meeting. (Wait... did you hear we got a house?! Read all about it here.) The meeting is designed, very intentionally, to be a time that we grow through challenge and feedback. In some meetings, we talk about very specific pressing issues or repair relationships by acknowledging broken trust or commitments among house members. In others, we talk more generally about the culture of the house and how to improve our processes. Last week, we talked about broadening our perspective and the way we look at the house.
By leasing the house in Mar Vista, we burned the ships in a big way. We, very nearly, emptied our bank account to lease the space upfront for six months. We did this because we feared losing several program participants who were about to be released from prison. We had to get a place immediately so we could provide a safe environment for these men, We were only able to afford the space because it is being torn down in six months and was up for short-term lease, at a steal. In the next 5 months, the pressure will increasingly mount for us to prove and pitch our model so that we can continue the program and inhabit another house. If we fail, everyone in the house becomes homeless.
All of the inhabitants in the Mar Vista house were fully aware of this when we signed the contract to move In. Living in the house carries with it an enormous burden of responsibility. We have to come together, trust one another, and give our best effort so that this works.
Sometimes, the weight of our task can get lost in the day-to-day. When this happens, small details begin to slip: The water filter fails to be replenished, dishes do not get put away immediately, dog hair accumulates on the couch.
The danger of dog hair accumulating on the couch has nothing to do with the hair and everything to do with our mission and our commitment to one another. If a potential donor walks through the door and sees a small thing out of place, it tells them that much larger things might be out of place as well. At this stage in our existence, that could mean the difference between attaining long-term housing for our interns or having to scrap the program.
To combat this, we have agreed to walk through the front door of the house with a different set of eyes. Instead of entering the house as a man recently released from prison worrying about how he is going to make it in an impossible city, or as an exhausted coach who just worked a twelve-hour shift, we view our living environment through the unweary eyes of a donor who is looking for what stories the house might tell them.
When something is out of place, we move it. When dishes are in the sink we clean them, when one of our housemates has lapsed in his responsibilities, we hold him accountable and remind him of what is at stake. In this way we share leadership, grow each other, and move a little closer to our vision of a world where every person coming off the streets, or out of prison can get a seat at the table and realize their true potential.
- Community Dinners at The Mar Vista House - Every Thursday at 6:30 PM, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Strongman Open House- April 15 at – Sign up HERE
- Community Workout every Saturday at 1:00 p.m. 110 Lincoln Blvd.
- We're excited to welcome our newest board member, Plum Brice (see below for spotlight)
Plum Brice serves as Director, Office of the Chairman for AEG, the world's leading sports and live entertainment company. In this capacity, Plum provides executive and administrative support to the organization’s five-member governing body including areas of policy creation, implementation and evaluation relating to both long-term strategy and day-to day management of the global company.
Plum, who joined AEG in 2007, also facilitates briefings to department heads and specific business units on behalf of the Board, relating to strategic oversight, governance and policies on behalf of AEG’s principal governing and management entity. Her responsibilities also include helping to develop and implement new policies and procedures to enhance executive productivity and improve business operations.
Additionally, Plum provides direct support to the CEO in the review and preparation of correspondences, maintaining his relationships with clients as well as managing timely review and responses to matters in his absence.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Plum developed her strong sense of community service and volunteerism from her mother, a retired school teacher and her father who served in the U.S. Army.
Plum’s active lifestyle includes regular strength training and hot yoga classes, dancing and meditation. She is an enthusiastic fan of hockey, enjoys music of all genres and loves to travel.
Joel Flores Bustos came to our program 10 months ago. You might have seen him on the yard hanging out with the gym dogs or on the Breath and Exposure deck where he has earned a leadership position. In the short amount of time he has been at DEUCE, Joel has grown to become a different person.
Out of all of our DEUCE Community interns that have taken and passed our Level 1 Coach’s Prep exam, Joel received the highest score. He now runs one of our offsite strength and conditioning programs at a correctional facility downtown. He has also become certified as an XPT Performance Breathing Coach.
Joel was the first intern to move into the Mar Vista house. He was there day one and we could not have gotten the program up and running without his remarkable efforts. Through every phase of our push to provide housing, Joel has taken more ownership of the project. His leadership serves as an example to others entering our program and gives them hope for what they might become.