On March 4th, 2020 Service Learning Leadership made its annual visit to Homeboy Industries, a nonprofit organization in Los Angeles founded by Father Gregory Boyle that aims to provide hope, support, and love to improve the lives of former gang members. While at Homeboy, SLL members were given tours by current Homeboy employees who showed both the beauties of Homeboy (such as the classrooms where employees take classes and engage with other workers, the bread factory, offices, and the HomeGirl Cafe) as well as various backstories as to how they ended up working at Homeboy themselves.
What makes Homeboy Industries such a unique and wonderful organization is the amount of passion and desire that all of the employees possess to transform their lives for the better. Coming from a broad variety of unfortunate life circumstances and situations, the perseverance and guidance of Homeboy transform these former gang members into positive role models and leaders in their own community and beyond. With assistance and unwavering support from Father Greg and all of the employees, every new member of the Homeboy family is welcomed with open arms and is given a sense of security and purpose. This relationship of trust and hope that Homeboy has established with not only their own workers but also every individual, family, visitor, and volunteer that enters the building is a relationship that cannot be forged. Every person stands with and for one another not against or in opposition.
We ended the day with a delicious lunch from the Homegirl Cafe where SLL members were able to interact and engage in conversation with more of the Homeboy employees who shared personal stories of hope and who opened up to us students about the importance of integrity and strength. The connections made with the tour guides and employees were some of the most remarkable relationships that could have been made. We are beyond grateful for the opportunity to bring new students to Homeboy Industries every year because of how transformative the overall experience is as well as how leaving the building gives you a strong desire to go out into the world and serve.
Thank you so much for bringing us into your home and to Father Greg who reminds us that “ sooner or later we will realize that kindness is the only strength there is.” Especially during these pressing times, being able to encourage from the heart is crucial. Recently, Father Greg was named a part of Governor Gavin Newsom's 80 member task force alongside other A-list business leaders. For more information on the Governor's task force as well as information on Father Greg and his response to COVID-19, please click the links below.