Jesuit Father Greg Boyle was a guest on The Dr. Phil show that aired in December on “Trouble Teens Turnaround.” Fr. Boyle, who is executive director of Homeboy Industries, a gang-intervention and rehab center, discussed strategies to help troubled kids.
“We get about 15,000 folks who walk through our doors every year, gang members trying to redirect their lives,” said Boyle, who is also author of “Tattoos on the Heart” (#12 on the Los Angeles Times bestseller list for December 26, 2010). “They might come for tattoo removal and discover that we can locate a job for them or maybe they need counseling.”
One former gang member talked about how Boyle helped him. “Upon release [from prison], I came and talked to Fr. Greg, and he just signed me up and told me, ‘My son, come back Tuesday.’ After that, I’ve been working here ever since. Without Homeboy Industries, I’d probably be back in jail right now.”
“Los Angeles is the gang capital of the world,” said Boyle. “In L.A. County, we have 1,100 gangs and 86,000 gang members. I buried my first young person in 1988. I buried my 170th this morning.”
Boyle said the kids need to have an alternative to gangs. “You want to be able to say ‘Leave that behind; come over here and we’ll help you. We’ll give you a job and make sure you stay in school.’”
For more on the episode, visit the Dr. Phil website.