Community Issues

Love Always Wins! See The Big-Time Payback for Group Helping Former Gang Members Turn Their Lives Around

Once you hear what they do, you'll see why this organization is more than deserving of a prestigious prize.

Father Gregory Boyle believes that everyone deserves a second chance.

From 1986-1992, Boyle served as the pastor of Dolores Mission Church in Boyle Heights, which was the poorest Catholic community in Los Angeles and had the highest rate of gang violence in the city.

At the time, policing and mass incarceration were considered the best methods for stopping the violence and getting criminals off the streets. Father Boyle tried a different approach, and treated gang members with respect and compassion.

Father Gregory Boyle was dedicated to helping formerly incarcerated inmates and gang members start a new life. Homeboy Industries/Facebook

In 1988, Boyle founded Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, an organization that employs and trains former gang members for a wide range of roles, along with providing services you might not expect, like tattoo removal and mental health counseling.

Homeboy Industries is now the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world with established networks in states across the U.S. and in countries like Guatemala and Scotland.

video c/o Homeboy Industries

Recently, Homeboy Industries received the 2020 Hilton Humanitarian Prize which comes with a cash award of $2.5 million. The prize is the world's largest humanitarian award, and is presented each year to a nonprofit organization that has made "extraordinary contributions" toward healing human suffering.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Dutchess of Sussex, recently visited Homeboy Industries to help prepare meals for the food insecure. @HomeboyInd

"The Jury's selection of Homeboy Industries as the recipient of the 2020 Hilton Humanitarian Prize speaks to the power of standing with people who have been systemically marginalized, creating space for them to heal and invest in their future, with the intention of ending the socio-economic inequities that impact communities.," Peter Laugharn, the president and CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, said in a statement.

Homeboy Industries offers an 18-month training program and employs many of its members after they complete the program. Homeboy Industries/Facebook

Homeboy Industries plans to use the funds to supporting the organization's growing list of initiatives and expanding their programs and adding new ones to better support the people who come to them for help.

A charter school, bakery and recycling center are just a few of the facilities that Homeboy Industries operates and uses to employ their clients. Homeboy Industries/Facebook

"All of us at Homeboy Industries are profoundly humbled by the Hilton Foundation's recognition," Boyle said. "Their validation of our work of 32 years strengthens our resolve to create a community of kinship and healing in Los Angeles. This acknowledgment helps us all to move past 'survival of the fittest' and allow the thriving of the nurtured."

Father Boyle has always believed that 'radical love' is more effective in helping gang members leave a life of violence. Homeboy Industries/Facebook

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Homeboy Industries has worked alongside community partners to help feed families in need, and they're hosting a back-to-school drive to get supplies for the program's trainees and their children to prepare them for the new school year.

Homeboy Industries works alongside community partners to help those in need. @HomeboyInd

Thanks to the Hilton Humanitarian Prize, Homeboy Industries can continue changing lives and helping people society has all but given up on.

As Father Boyle says, "Sooner or later, we'll all discover that kindness is the only strength there is."

How can you start something good?

Feeling inspired?

You can learn more about Homeboy Industries by clicking here. To make a donation, click here.

Let's #StartSomethingGood together!

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