Over the past 20 years, Father Greg Boyle has buried more than 165 young people whose lives were cut short as a result of gang violence. Wanting to do more than just conduct funerals, he founded Homeboy Industries, a safe haven where former gang members and the recently incarcerated can be reintroduced to society and become contributing members of the community.
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Each year, 120,000 young people arrive in search of counseling, high-school degrees and free tattoo removal. But that’s not all.
“You ask any gang member in the United States of America, ‘name one thing that would help you,’ – you wouldn’t find a gang member who said something other than a job,” says Father Greg. Unable to convince employers to hire former gang members, Father Greg decided to open up a business. Today, Homeboy Industries runs its own bakery, café, gift shop and printing business, all run by former gang members, with profits going to benefit the program.
My Generation heads just north of Los Angeles to where young men and women are finding new hope for their futures.