15 May HOMEBOY INDUSTRIES: jobs not Jails
While living in Downtown Los Angeles, I took a solo stroll up the street for a cute mid-morning trip to the farmers market. As I notice a stand stacked with delish baked goods, I’m drawn to the person behind the breads – a large, tatted up, bald, Hispanic guy. As I approached the stand, a young hispanic boy walked over with a box of breads and his bad boy sway.
It turns out, the tatted guy was not only selling baked goods but also mentoring this teen who had an on-again off-again relationship with the law. As a mentor, he too struggled with that same unhealthy relationship himself. From a stereotypically judgemental angle, it would be no surprise that these two were incarcerated for gang activities. But in reality, I never once felt threatened by them; in fact, I literally felt their love and passion for their work, their purpose, and their lives. From what initially seemed out of nature, felt incredibly… good and positive.
Like always, following the intuition of my sweet tooth never disappoints, because this is how I discovered Homeboy Industries – the bakery responsible for bringing these people and this moment together.
WHO IS HOMEBOY?
Located in Los Angeles, California – Homeboy Industries is one of the the largest and most successful gang intervention, rehabilitation, and re-entry programs in the country. Their model revolves around creating a supportive community that trumps the support found in gangs. Founded in 2001 and led by Father Gregory Boyle, Homeboy was built on the question,
What if we were to invest in this population rather than just endlessly incarcerate?
A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
Local Farmers Markets
Homeboy + Homegirl Merchandise
Silkscreen + Embroidery
WHAT THEY DO
A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
Providing a trauma-informed therapeutic community setting, program participants are given a chance to focus on personal development while performing constructive work duties and building healthy relationships with co-workers – who may have been a rival gang member. Aside from providing work opportunities and training, they offer supportive programs as well.
OPPORTUNITIES + PROGRAMS
- Paid job training for men and women at one of the six Homeboy enterprises
- Tattoo Removal
- Substance Abuse Treatment
- Legal Assistance
- Job Placement Services
- Case Management
- Solar panel installation training and certificate program
BEING A GLOBAL LEADER
Following their success, Homeboy Industries helped develop 46 similar programs in the United States (and several outside). Father Greg travels internationally by invitation from organizations and government agencies interested in replicating Homeboy Industries’s model.
INCARCERATION FACTS VIA HOMEBOY
OF THE NATION
2/3 will be re-arrested, up to 1/3 re-incarcerated within a few years after release.
A day in prison costs $79 on average; a day on probation costs $3.42.
The rate of Black 9-12th high school student dropouts in 2009
The rate of Hispanic/Latino 9-12th high school student dropouts in 2009
of adults in East LA who never completed high school
of California’s poor live in Los Angeles
The poverty rate in Los Angeles County
of youth gang homicides in California occur in Los Angeles County
HOW YOU CAN HELP
DONATE + SHOP
There are many ways to help! Donations, volunteering, spreading the word, hiring from Homeboy, or simply purchasing goods or eating at a Homeboy establishment are always appreciated. Profits from products and yummy eats goes straight to their program.
Not in Los Angeles? That’s ok! Homeboy ships their products! Visit their online store for Homeboy Foods, Books & Media, and Merchandise & Apparel.
For further detailed information on donating and getting involved, please visit here.