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Home > Green News > SOLUTIONS MAGAZINE > Special Reports > Special Reports and Featured Products about Green Best Practices > Awards and Kudos > Green Solution Award Winners

Homeboy Industries -- We can learn to love and respect each other

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Sustainable Community Solutions for Urban Youth

Father Gregory Boyle, S.J., is a Jesuit priest who is founder and executive director of Jobs For A Future/Homeboy Industries, an employment referral center and economic development program.

Father Boyle directs the ministry which in 2005 offered more than 4,000 tattoo removal treatments, 1,000 mental health counseling sessions and nearly 1,000 job placements to youth working for Homeboy businesses or in outside jobs. The organization reaches out to youth and young adults from 600 gangs across the Greater Los Angeles region from Long Beach to Lancaster. By addressing the root causes of gang violence “Nothing stops a bullet like a job” is the practical, guiding principle.

Mayor Villaraigosa spoke at the groundbreaking of their new facilities, "We have a lot of work to do to reclaim a young person one at a time, because that's what it's all about."

The original 80-year old bakery building burned down in 1999 following an electrical fire. The new 21,000sf complex being built on Bruno and Alameda Streets across the street from the Chinatown Gold Line station near downtown Los Angeles will bring together various Homeboy Industry businesses including its headquarters, Homegirls Cafe and Catering, and a retail store.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca noted that the Homeboy Industries new home is just one quarter of a mile from the largest jail system in the world --- Men's Central Jail --- where four to five thousand gang members are held.

Homeboy Industries Provides Solutions for Urban Communities

Homeboy Industries is "an oasis near a place that represents nothing but despair," said Baca. "I'm very, very pleased to say that my relationship with Father Boyle is one that has given me tremendous inspiration as well --- that this man can singly inspire the work of young men who have lost their journey in life, and he has given them a new direction."

Founded to provide gang members, at-risk youth and those recently released from detention with job placement and other mainstreaming services, Homeboy has developed several businesses from the ground up that generate jobs as well as serving the community in other ways.

Community Solutions for Jobs

Jobs For A Future's first venture was Homeboy Bakery, and Homeboy Industries has now launched:

Homeboy Maintenance offers landscaping installation and maintenance services. Employing former gang members and parolees, we give these young people practical skills and a positive work environment. Through working together as a team, they learn mutual respect and responsibility. Accounts include the City of Los Angeles, East LA Metro Project, and they are also available for residential and commercial services. For more information, contact Pascual Torres at (323) 526-1254 ext. 41 or email pascualt@homeboy-industries.org

Started in 1996, Homeboy Silkscreen is currently the largest division of Homeboy Industries. Aligned with the mission of Homeboy Industries, this thriving business has employed nearly 500 gang members who have learned the fundamentals while developing a work ethic working side by side with their enemies. State-of-the-art silkscreening and embroidery techniques are used to create custom clothing and accessories for a variety of schools, churches, private companies, and city organizations.

Homegirl Cafe will be a training facility for hundreds of Homegirls that are looking for an opportunity in the restaurant business. Homegirl Cafe’s mode is “Traditional Latino Flavors with A Contemporary Twist”. Homegirl Cafe is also available for catering for parties. Contact Patty Zarate at (323) 268-9353 or email at pattyz@homeboy-industries.org

The inauguration of the Bakery Training Program has been announced in anticipation of the planned re-building of the Homeboy bakery. Six former gang members are enrolled in Bakery classes at LA Trade Tech and after graduation, they will begin an internship/apprenticeship in an existing bakery, where they will solidify their skills. This group will form the core of Homeboy Bakery's future leaders immediately upon opening. For more information, please contact Pascual Torres, Director of Economic Development at (323) 526-1254 ext. 41 or email him at pascualt@homeboy-industries.org

Father Boyle, executive director for Jobs With a Future, is a national speaker about the importance of adult attention, guidance, and unconditional love in preventing youth from joining gangs, and to help them get out of the gang culture.

A book about Boyle's work, G-Dog and the Homeboys, is now out in paperback.

CONTACT

Homeboy Industries
130 W. Bruno St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(323) 526-1254
(323) 526-1257 fax
http://www.homeboy-industries.org
Father Greg Boyle, Executive Director ext.11
Pascual Torres, Director of Economic Development ext. 41
Shirley Torres, Director of Homeboy Services



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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