Father Greg's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Opportunity Youth

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Los Angeles, CA

FATHER GREG BOYLE

Founder / Executive Director
Homeboy Industries

“If you don't transform your pain, you'll just keep transmitting it. So transform it-turn it into something beautiful.”

INTERESTS:

Non-Profit Organizations Philosophy & Religion

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Community Opportunity Societal Pressures Fear Risk Support & Encouragement Passion Determination Hard Work

FOUNDATION:

Helping People

TAGS:

baking, belonging, change, church, community, courage, drugs, education, fear, gangs, hope, job, justice, leadership, listening, peace, priest, school, thinking, violence

BIOGRAPHY:

  • Says he "won the zip code lottery" and grew up in a part of Los Angeles where there were no gangs.
  • After being ordained as a priest, he was assigned to the poorest parish in the city with the highest concentration of gang activity in the world.
  • He'd ride his bike around his neighborhood, where eight different gangs were at war; says he tried his best to "put out fires."
  • From 1988 to 2015, he buried almost 200 members of his parish who died as a direct result of gang violence.
  • Started asking gang members in his parish, "What would help you?"-they replied by saying they needed jobs and schools that would accept them.
  • In 1992, a movie producer approached him and wanted to help; they decided to buy a bakery and hire ex-gang members as their staff.
  • Homeboy Industries is now the largest gang intervention re-entry program in the world; 15,000 people come through their doors each year.
  • Says he's stuck with the work because he loves the people and finds them "eternally interesting and noble."

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