Kindness is the only strength there is - Homeboy Industries, Los Angeles
On the first of march, I had the chance to visit the Homeboy industries headquarters in Los Angeles. Founded by father Greg Boyle in 1992, they offer rehabilitation programs to former gang members and the recently incarcerated. The costs free programs consist in mental health counseling, legal services, tattoos removal, education classes, jobs skills training and social entreprise employment.
It is a 18 months program combining work and educational classes based on the individual needs of the beneficiaries. Homeboy Industries run a variety of social entreprises and social business such as: Homeboy Bakery, Homegirl Café & Catering, Homeboy Farmers Markets, the Homeboy Diner at City Hall and Homeboy Café & Bakery at the Los Angeles Airport. This helps former gang members and former inmates to have an opportunity to acquire job skills and seek employment in a safe, supportive environment.
I had the chance to meet current benificiary Michael and current Homeboy employee Omar.
Michael, 47 years old - 31 years served in prison, recently out of jail: « I have a son that is 21 years old now. It’s hard for me to call myself a father since I haven’t seen him growing up. My son did amazing, I have always told him to do the opposite of me. I recently started my healing journey and work 5 days a week in a recycling entreprise sponsored by homeboys industry. »
Omar, 28 years old - former gang member, 6 years working at Homeboys. He was shot in the head at the age of 20 next to her pregnant girlfriend: « I am a father of 2, this is what makes me want to go forward in life. This year I traveled to New York for the first time. The more you see, the more you want to travel. »
« Kindness is the only strength there is » Father G
Written by Nicolas Freudiger