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Father Gregory Boyle

Service Is the Hallway that Gets You to the Ballroom

September 20, 2018
By Allison Johnson, Blog Editor

Father Gregory Boyle points to the audience in Evans auditorium.

In 1992 Father Gregory Boyle founded Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, California. A Jesuit priest, Boyle became aware of the many deaths from gang violence in the city. Twenty-six years later Boyle is still paving a way for ex-gang members for a successful re-entry into a world outside of gang affiliation. A lot of people are not provided with the rehabilitation that they need in prison. Homeboy Industries is a rehabilitation and re-entry center for men and women who are overcoming gang violence and mental trauma from their past.

On Tuesday, September 18, Father Boyle spoke at Texas State University as part of the Common Experience Insight Series. Father Boyle is a true visionary for rehabilitation. When employers denied trainees a job because they discovered they were felons, Father Boyle and his team created jobs for people in the Homeboy program. Jobs varied from graffiti removers, landscaping, child care and even baking. Some are even electricians and welders. A job and education aren’t just the only factors going into the rehabilitation part of the program. It’s also about healing.

Father Boyle remodeled re-entry with jobs and education, but he has also transformed the methodology of helping out people’s inner problems. This is where Father Boyle has been a trailblazer in the world of innovation. Not only has he helped trainees with finding work and removing gang stigmas with tattoo removals, Homeboy Industries has 47 volunteer therapists who assist with mental trauma. Father Boyle said it best. “An educated and employed gang member may not return to prison but a healed one won’t ever.”

Something Homeboy Industries focuses on is uplifting adults with an open mind and open heart. Many social work programs usually are focused on children. Homeboy Industries is as well, but Father Boyle knows many of his trainees were brought up in detrimental conditions. Some of his trainees are parents. Homeboy trainees might say they don’t ever want their children to grow up and be like them, so Father Boyle helps them break a cycle.

Homeboy Industries offers Baby & Me classes, domestic violence interventions, counseling and support groups. Father Boyle, trainees, and the community are setting an example for the next generation. All people wishing to change just have to walk through the doors of Homeboy Industries. Father Boyle welcomes everyone with a tender heart and unconditional love.