WHAT IS HOMEBOY INDUSTRIES: LEARN ABOUT THE COUNTRY’S LARGEST GANG-INTERVENTION PROGRAM EMPLOYING FELONS

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

photo by Father Gregory Boyle, the founder and heart of Homeboy Industries, prays with a client. | Photo by Melissa Golden

Fr. Gregory Boyle – best known as Fr. Greg by all who meet him — has been an advocate for at-risk and gang-involved youth in Los Angeles, and around the world, for over 25 years. Father Boyle founded Homeboy Industries, which traces its roots to “Jobs For A Future” (JFF), a program created in 1988 by Fr. Greg at Dolores Mission parish. In an effort to address the escalating problems and unmet needs of gang-involved youth, Fr. Greg and the community developed positive alternatives, including establishing an elementary school, a day care program and finding legitimate employment for young people. JFF’s success demonstrated that many gang members are eager to leave the dangerous and destructive life on the ‘streets.’

In 1992, as a response to the civil unrest in Los Angeles, Fr. Greg launched the first business: Homeboy Bakery, with a mission to create an environment that provided training, work experience, and above all, the opportunity for rival gang members to work side by side. The success of the Bakery created the groundwork for additional businesses, thus prompting JFF to become an independent non-profit organization, Homeboy Industries, in 2001. Today Homeboy Industries’ nonprofit economic development enterprises include Homeboy BakeryHomeboy SilkscreenHomeboy/Homegirl Merchandise, and Homegirl Café.

Started as a jobs program offering alternatives to gang violence in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Homeboy assists at-risk, recently released, and formerly gang involved youth to become contributing members of their communities through a variety of services in response to their multiple needs. Free programs — including counseling, education, tattoo removal, substance abuse and addiction assistance, job training and job placement — enable young people to redirect their lives. Homeboy provides them with hope for their futures and is the nation’s largest gang-intervention and re-entry program – a model to all. Additionally, one of the many jobs one can get is being an extra on the hit show Southland who works with Homeboy Industries to make the show as real as possible.

Father Greg’s first book, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, was released on March 9, 2010, which received the 2010 SCIBA (Southern California Indie Booksellers Association) Non-Fiction Book Award and was named as one of the Best Books of 2010 by Publishers Weekly.

Homeboy Industries has made so much progress that on Saturday April 21, 2012 they hosted their 10th Annual Lo Maximo Awards Dinner. The Homeboy hero was awarded to Brian Moon, the Homeboy Community Service Award was  awarded to Bruce Karatz and the Homeboy Media Award was awarded to Southland’s Executive Producers John Wells, Christopher Cuhulack, and Jonathan Lisco. The cast of Southland also showed up and went with producers to accept their award.

MEET BRIAN MOON HOMEBOY’S HERO

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