As each year comes to a close, I often look back on the articles I’ve written and which ones really stayed with me. Hands down, my favorite story this year was one I did in Homeboy Industries, the largest gang intervention program in the country.
If anyone reading this was reading the blog this summer, they know this is true because I was so captivated with the organization and its founder, Father Greg Boyle, that I wrote about them a few times in July, but never gave to them since I wanted to wait until my piece on Homeboy came out in Entrepreneur magazine, which it did last month.
But as Christmas approaches, I remain convinced that Father Boyle embodies the teachings of Jesus more than anyone I’ve met in terms of compassion, alleviating suffering and poverty, walking among the disenfranchised, and humility.
Homeboy exists to provide jobs to ex-gang members through its various enterprises including cafes and bakeries. Plus, it also offers services such as tattoo removal and educational training to ex-gang members as they try to find a new life outside of the gang.
To spend any time in Father Boyle’s presence is to bear witness to someone who is committed to a life of service spent walking among those most of us cross the street to avoid.
He often cites Mother Teresa’s comment, “We’ve forgotten that we belong to each other,” in his speeches. Since I first heard him say that this summer, it’s echoed around my brain as I’ve written this blog. It’s served as a refrain, a constant reminder that we are all connected, even people who live thousands of miles from us in circumstances completely different than ours that we will never meet. There’s a thread that unifies us all. We all know it, but Father Boyle embodies it.
Dec. 15: Homeboy Industries
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