I had the pleasure of learning about Homeboy Industries through a book titled, Tattoos on the Heart, by Gregory Boyle (2010). The man behind this organization is the perfect example of the title of my blog: Ripple Affect. Through his actions of unconditional love, compassion and genuine kinship, Father Greg has turned one of the biggest gang areas in L.A. into a place of hope for many.
The mottos for Homeboy Industries are “Jobs not Jail” and “Nothing stops a bullet like a job.” Because the consequences of gang life are often incarceration or even death, Father Greg’s organization strives for different outcomes by providing the means for a change.
The origin of Homeboy Industries was also an organization started by Father Greg called “Jobs For A Future.” It began with Homeboy Bakery which gave hands-on job readiness skills to gang members who had the desire to leave their gang life. Now, Homeboy Industries is comprised of the following: Homeboy Bakery, Homeboy Silkscreen and Embroidery, Homeboy Merchandise, and Homegirl Café. The ultimate goal is for the employees to learn the job readiness skills necessary for attaining and maintaining permanent employment. Besides the case workers and other programs put into place to help employees succeed, Homeboy Industries also has a tattoo removal program … I’ll stop right there because I know how common it is to have a tattoo but I don’t think we’re talking about dolphins, shamrocks or moon tattoosJ
In the book Tattoos on the Heart (2010), Father Greg humbly states “though thousands have found assistance, it remains a tiny drop in a pretty deep bucket”(p.9). Thank God for those drops.
If you would like to learn more about Homeboy Industries, check out their website:
read the book!
How can we get involved?:
I believe the majority of the proceeds (if not all) of the book, Tattoos on the Heart, goes to Homeboy Industries. Also, if you live (or visit) in California, check out their bakery or café! If you shop at Ralph’s, look for their chips and salsaJ Homeboy merchandise is available for purchase on-line and if for some reason you need a lot of t-shirts made for your business, check out their silkscreen/embroidery business. It all goes to a great cause!
“Compassion is always, at its most authentic, about a shift from the cramped world of self-preoccupation into a more expansive place of fellowship, of true kinship.”(Boyle, 2010, p. 77)