Father Greg's Open Road
FATHER GREG BOYLE
Founder / Executive Director
If you don't transform your pain, you'll just keep transmitting it. So transform it-turn it into something beautiful.
- 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."