News Detail
Jesuit Father Greg Boyle at the White House in Washington, D.C.
“No kid is seeking something when he joins a gang. He’s always fleeing something.”
— Jesuit Father
Greg Boyle
White House “Champions of Change” Program Honors Jesuit Father Greg Boyle

July 9, 2014 — Jesuit Father Greg Boyle has been recognized by the White House as a "Champion of Change" for his Los Angeles-based gang intervention program, Homeboy Industries. On June 30, Fr. Boyle accepted an award in Washington, D.C., for his work with Homeboy, now in its 25th year.

Along with Fr. Boyle, 14 others were honored for their efforts to “help those with criminal records reenter society with dignity and viable employment opportunities,” according to a White House press release.

The event, titled “Reentry and Employment Champions of Change,” featured Attorney General Eric Holder and Piper Kerman, author of the best-selling memoir “Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison” and inspiration for the television series of the same name. Each week, the “Champions of Change” program brings individuals “doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities” in a given field to the White House to highlight their work.

“Sound reentry policy is much more than an economic and budgetary necessity. It’s also a moral imperative,” said Holder, before introducing the honorees at the White House.

Fr. Boyle is founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries, the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation and reentry program in the United States. He first encountered the gang violence issue in East Los Angeles when he served as pastor of Dolores Mission Church from 1986 to 1992. Homeboy Industries now employs and trains more than 300 former gang members every year in seven enterprises, including a restaurant, a bakery and a silkscreen and embroidery business. Additionally, the organization provides resources and rehabilitation services, such as tattoo removal and counseling, to 12,000 people every year.

“No kid is seeking something when he joins a gang,” said Fr. Boyle. “He’s always fleeing something.” The only thing to do in response is to “address despair, address trauma and deliver mental health services,” he advised.

Rounding out his Washington D.C. trip, Fr. Boyle gave a talk titled “Lessons from the Field: Protecting Youth and Stopping the Cycle of Incarceration” on Capitol Hill. The standing-room only event was coordinated by the National Advocacy Office of the Jesuit Conference and the Interfaith Criminal Justice Coalition. Fr. Boyle recounted anecdotes of former gang members he’d taken under his wing and described what has and hasn’t worked while running the nonprofit.

“Homeboy Industries provides a wraparound community,” he said, explaining the organization’s impact on the gang members, including many youths, who arrive at Homeboy’s doorstep. “I think that’s why Homeboy works. It’s a wraparound community and people are going to hold you.”

To learn more about Homeboy Industries and the White House Champions of Change program, visit www.homeboyindustries.org and www.whitehouse.gov/champions.


Recent News

September 17, 2014 — Today is the feast day of Saint Robert Bellarmine (1542–1621), a Jesuit who was one of the most important cardinals of the Catholic Reformation.

September 15, 2014 — St. Anne’s Church in Kingston, Jamaica, has repurposed a plot of land behind the church to provide low-rent houses for the elderly.

September 15, 2014 — Jesuit Father John Cecero, a former psychologist and psychology professor, is the new provincial for the New York Province Jesuits.

September 12, 2014 — All 28 U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities ranked in U.S. News & World Report's 2015 America’s “Best Colleges” report.

September 10, 2014 — Pope Francis has appointed U.S. Jesuit Father Robert J. Geisinger as the Promoter of Justice at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

September 9, 2014 — Today is the feast day of Saint Peter Claver, a Jesuit missionary known as the patron saint of slaves, African missions and interracial justice.

September 5, 2014 — Jesuit Father Timothy Kesicki and other religious leaders delivered a letter to President Obama.

view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America - 9/15/14

America - 9/1/14

America - 8/18/14



Ignatius House Retreat Center
For almost 50 years, the Ignatius House Retreat Center has been open to individuals of all faiths seeking a closer relationship with God.