DEUCE Community Update: June 2024


Language matters.

It’s something we’ve all heard before. To some, the phrase might feel overused. I disagree. I don’t think language can matter enough.

Misinterpreting communication can cost us. And not just in the obvious, immediate ways. The language we use and are subjected to shapes us subtly and profoundly. 

Language is our opportunity to shape the world around us.

Coaching taught me that people will do precisely what they interpret you are asking for. In movement, specificity matters a great deal. If I cue an athlete “Jump tall” or “Give me more,” they will do their best to make those things happen. However, if I have not taken the time to establish a relationship with the athlete and a shared understanding of terms, I will most likely not get the desired result. If I don’t stick around to assess the impact of my coaching, I could very well be doing more harm than good. This lesson on communication has served me in all aspects of life.

Nouns can be an interesting subset in conversation about language. Nouns are taken very personally, and we often build up intricate ideas about the nouns we use—with others and ourselves.

For many years, I invested a lot of time and effort in a persona that I attached to a name- a nickname I was given in prison. The persona was not my true self. However, the weight that others attached to that name kept me safe and comfortable. The name and the deeds attached to it became my biggest asset, but the more I relied on that name, the further away from myself I drifted.

When I was released from prison, the utility of the name I valued for so long shifted. The name still carried weight, but only in the places I didn’t want to be. It was challenging to let go of. When I had nothing, that name was my currency. When I stopped acknowledging it, a curious thing happened. I began to let go of the persona attached to the name and started moving closer to myself. Detaching from that allowed me to view myself for who I was and not who I thought I was supposed to be.

Our nonprofit, DEUCE Community, has also struggled with names. We failed to craft consistent language for the people in our program. We toggled between ‘Program Participant,’ which is too sterile, and ‘Coach,’ which proved confusing because not everyone chose that trajectory in our program. Switching between the two caused more problems. The best path forward was uncertain.

The answer came from close to the action. Our Program Director, Jose Bojorquez, suggested changing our language to ‘Student.’ Student reflects the willingness we require and the developmental nature of our program. It has neither the ambiguity of coach nor the sterile feel of program participant. Student suggests active participation. The term empowers those enrolled to own their learning and process for growth. Since shifting our language, we have seen a marked difference in how many students navigate the program.

With or without intention, our language constantly evolves and shapes our reality. If we choose not to give careful consideration to the way in which we speak, we do so at our peril; if we do not take control of our language, it will take control of us.

Third Annual Tattoo Pop-Up to be Alcohol Free

For an individual to fully express their potential, they must;

  1. Be supported by their community.
  2. Exist in an environment that is conducive to their growth.

We realized that we were violating these two principles by making alcohol available for purchase at our community fundraisers. It's important to us that our students participate in our community events. It is much more important to us that they have the opportunity to express the best version of themselves. For this reason, all of our community events will be alcohol-free.

This year's Pop-Up is poised to be the biggest one yet. We have four artists, two former students and graduates of our program, Fern and Raul. The event will also feature artists Taylor and Gina, owners of the local La Volta Tattoo. The first Tattoo Pop Up was a result of Taylor and Gina wanting to give back to the community in a meaningful way.

Tattoos will be available from all artists on a first-come, first-serve basis from 1 to 5 PM. Each artist will release a sheet of flash art, and tattoos will be limited to the flash printed on each artist’s sheet.

Click HERE to register for the Pop-Up.

Tattoo Pop-Up Dinner Tickets

Lock in your spot at our annual Tattoo Pop-Up Dinner. Tickets are available at Standard Attendee and Sponsorship levels.

Sponsorship-level tickets come with preferential seating at dinner, DEUCE Community gear, a 3-pack PT or breathwork session with one of our Coaches, and branded acknowledgment at our event.

Click HERE to purchase tickets.

Coach Joe Completes Yoga Teacher Training

Through a partnership with Prison Yoga Project, Breathwork Coach and Housing Manager recently completed his 200-hour Trauma-Informed Yoga Teacher Training.

We are beyond proud of Coach Joe for his commitment to continued personal and professional development. Joe has already begun utilizing what he learned In teacher training to enhance his breathwork coaching. The most exciting part of this certification for Joe is that he will be able to use it to take breathing exercises and meditation practices inside correctional facilities.


Every Friday at 5:00 p.m.
Sober Workout with Coach Joe @ 5:00 PM 110 Lincoln Blvd

Every Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
Community Workout at DEUCE Gym @ 110 Lincoln Blvd, email

Every Last Thursday of the Month
Community Dinner at 2603 23rd Street, Santa Monica, email to RSVP

Every Last Saturday of the Month
Street Cleanup at 12:00 PM DEUCE Gym 110 Lincoln Blvd

3rd Annual Tattoo Pop Up | June 22nd
Volunteers needed, email


The Amazon Prime packages that show up on the porch of the DEUCE Community House mean more to these guys than you can possibly imagine. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

Amazon Wishlist