DEUCE Community Update: May 2023


A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet one of my heroes, Chad Houser. He’s the founder of Cafe Momentum- a restaurant staffed entirely by young men and women involved in the juvenile justice system. When I met with Chad, I knew I would have a very limited amount of his time, so I chose to be economical with my questions.

I asked him what the one piece of advice was that he would give to someone trying to make as big an impact on the world as he had. He stood pensively for a long minute and replied:

“Nothing is a failure unless you let it be. Everything is a lesson.”

He then elaborated with a well-known story about the first Cafe Momentum pop-up dinner he ever held in June of 2011. Chad had talked authorities at the Henry Wade Juvenile Justice Center into transporting youth in custody to one of the top restaurants in Dallas and letting them plate and serve a gourmet four-course dinner.

The dinner was designed to change the community's perception of the youth and build advocacy for a permanent brick-and-mortar Cafe Momentum restaurant. You can imagine how nervous he was about that first night going well. It did, mostly. The kids did a fantastic job. They did such a great job that they returned all the wine glasses from each table to the kitchen empty. Not all of the wine glasses left the tables empty.

Instead of allowing this incident to ruin his vision of creating better lives for these kids and shifting how the juvenile justice system operates, Chad chose to keep moving forward and believing in the kids. He just slightly adjusted his operating strategy, so this wouldn’t happen again.

It’s rare to have a visionary who is also adaptable; someone who will go to the ends of the Earth for what they believe in and has the humility and perspective to admit when they are wrong, and course correct. Chad’s advice got me reflecting on the ways in which I was treating lessons as failures and letting them defeat me. In the time since our conversation, I have been thinking hard about the things that will have to be true for me to realize my own vision.

I see a world in which anyone coming off the streets or out of prison can earn a seat at the table and have an opportunity to reach their fullest potential.

The road to realizing this vision will be riddled with more hardship than I can possibly imagine. To give the people I believe in the opportunities they deserve, I must be flexible and unyielding. I will have to be adaptable in the extreme, learning from everything life throws at me. I will have to be a student, growing capacities that far exceed where I am currently. I will have to be firm in my belief and the pursuit of what I know is possible, despite what the world tells me.

Chad’s advice, like all great advice, wasn’t practical at all. He just let me know that if I was tough and mobile enough, I could change the world. What he really gave me was an example of what’s possible for a guy with a dream who believes in people that no one else will.

  • June 17th at 1:00 p.m. | Tattoo Pop-Up
  • May 29th | Memorial Day Murph
  • Every Thursday | Community Dinners at The Mar Vista House - Every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. – All are welcome. Contact
  • Every Saturday | Community Workout at DEUCE Gym @ 110 Lincoln Blvd
  • Fundraiser Toolkit | Interested in helping with our housing efforts but unsure how to get involved? Chances are you have someone in your network who might be able to help. We would love to help provide you with resources to help you share the story of what we are doing. Check out some examples of what this can look like HERE.

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. View the Amazon Wishlist  

Liefia Ingalls
grew up facing the challenges of poverty, housing instability, and familial incarceration in her early life. Navigating the traumas of systematic inequality, community violence, and substance addiction would force Liefia to grow incredible resilience and empathy, which she would later come to value as the unique fuel for living an incredible life.

While studying Biopsychology at the University of California at Santa Barbara, insight into the effects of physical training on the brain triggered an interest in strength training. An experimental interest in strength training for self-development turned into an obsession with pursuing the limits of her strength and propelled her into a triumphant career as a professional Strongwoman. As a competitor, she claimed prestigious titles including the Inaugural Arnold Pro Strongwoman Champion in 2017, World's Strongest Woman, and Strongest Woman in the World in 2018. She also set a list of event world records and became the first woman to lift the legendary Husafel Stone in Iceland.

Liefia is passionate about using strength training as a model process for self-development and personal transformation. She provides individualized strength and performance coaching services to athletes and professional clients across the world through her business Unicorn Strength Training. As a Deuce Community Board member, Liefia seeks to apply her unique set of skills and experiences to inform and support the development of a community model that will foster continuous personal development for each of its members.

My name is Fern Ochoa and I was introduced to DEUCE Community in May of 2022 at a strength and conditioning program in a downtown correctional facility. I am one of our newest residents here in the DEUCE Community house.

I'm an exceptional artist and have used it as my drive to leave behind a life of crime – freeing myself from a self-destructive past. I am hardworking, dedicated to change, and one day hope to open my own tattoo shop. I feel that, with the help of the mentorship program, I am well on my way to reaching my FULL potential.

I'm excited to dive deeper into the program through Business Prep 101, a course on the principles of entrepreneurship. Developing not only as an artist and entrepreneur but as a leader in the community are my hopes for myself as I enter this new chapter in life.