Sunday, May 6, 2012


Father Greg Boyle, aka G-Dog

"Nothing stops a bullet like a job".  Father Greg Boyle may be a priest but that message is almost like religion to him.  That and the motto on all Homeboy Tshirts "Jobs not Jails".  Boyle, known by the gang-type name G-Dog, knows what he's talking about:  he runs the most successful gang intervention and rehab progrma in the US.  This film shows why he's successful

Personally I think hugs might be as big a part of the formula as jobs.  Father Boyle never saw a person he didn't want to hug.  People join gangs because they're fleeing something, not because they're running toward something.  Homeboy Industries provides a community that they can run to.

 Homeboy operates several businesses which provide jobs for gang members leaving incarceration:
  • Homegirl Cafe
  • Homeboy Bakery
  • Homeboy Silkscreen and Embroidery
  • Homeboy Merchandise
  • Homeboy Catering
Unlike the rest of the world, having a record is the entrée into this company.  Father boyle visits camps where gang members are incarcerated, and hands out his card, inviting them to come the Homeboy when they leave.  When times are good (i.e. when the donations are flowing in), he greets them with an instant job in one of Homeboy's different businesses.

But Homeboys doesn't just put someone in a job.  They offer job training and experience, and find 'felon-friendly' employers who will employ Homeboy graduates.  They run a charter high school, parenting classes, life classes, art classes and AA meetings.  The tattoo removal service run by volunteer doctors removes 4,000 tattoos a year, because it's very hard to get a job with the extravagant gang tatoos these guys have.  But mostly, Homeboys is a family.  Members of opposing gangs end up working side by side.  They get respect, love, a sense of community and a father figure in Boyle who will never let them down. 

This was a great warm bear hug of a movie. 

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