For most gang members, building a better life is a tough undertaking, especially when nobody is willing to help out.
That's where Father Gregory Boyle comes in. For the past 32 years, anyone searching for hope and redemption in East Los Angeles can find both in abundance at his nonprofit, which seeks to give everyone a second chance.
He founded Homeboy Industries in 1988 and dedicated the nonprofit to giving gang members the tools they need to be successful and happy moving forward.
Back then, Father Greg was the pastor of Dolores Mission Church, which was Los Angeles' most impoverished Catholic parish. Gang activity was rampant all around them, but even so, Father Greg saw potential in all the people he met.
"We work with the population that nobody desires to work with, and it’s a principle of this place that we stand with them," Father Greg said.
Today, the organization serves thousands of individuals every year as "the largest gang intervention, rehab, and re-entry program in the world."
Not only does Homeboy Industries offer a variety of programs and services, but it also provides a strong community for its members. Now, formal street rivals can become close friends who support and love each other!
Some of their services include educational programs, therapy, tattoo removal, and employment. In fact, Homeboy trainees develop valuable job skills by working in the organization's social enterprises, which include Homegirl Cafe and Homeboy Bakery!
What's more, the community participates in fun activities together, including 5K races!
But Father Greg isn't just concerned about changing gang members' lives — he wants to change the way the world views and treats them.
That's why the Hilton Foundation selected his organization as the recipient of the 2020 Conrad Hilton Humanitarian Prize, which awards $2.5 million to nonprofits that "have made extraordinary contributions toward alleviating human suffering."
With that money, Father Greg and everyone else involved in Homeboy Industries will be able to make an even bigger difference in the years to come. Congratulations, all of you! Thank you for seeing the light in everyone!
Find out how two former enemies turned into fast friends in the video below, and share this story to spread the word. You can also support the nonprofit's mission by donating here.
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