interview With Father Gregory Boyle of Homeboy Industries


Hey everyone. Welcome to how. I built this resilience edition from npr on these episodes. We talk with entrepreneurs and change makers how they're meeting today's challenges with new strategies and ideas and today we're going to hear from father gregory boyle. He's the founder of homeboy industries. Father greg founded homeboy industries after years of serving as a jesuit priest and later as a pastor at dolores mission church in east. La forty saw the devastating effects of gang related violence on his community after operating for over thirty years. Homeboy industries has become one of the largest gang intervention rehabilitation and re entry programs in the world. About fifteen thousand folks year walk through our doors trying to reimagine their lives. We were begun in nineteen eight. Just end my paris. Which was the poorest in the city but had had the highest concentration of gang activity. We had eight gangs at war with each other and i started to bury kids. I buried my two hundred and eighty third last week. Not all from that community. Obviously but i know a lot of gang members. So i get asked and and so we just started. Things started to school than we started the jobs program trying to find felony friendly employers then that was not so forthcoming so we started businesses. A bakery was the first in ninety two and now we have nine social enterprises but also a program of healing you know. Sluggers tattoo removal. There's therapy case management classes. It's an amazing series of programs. And as you mentioned i mean things like tattoo removal or just helping people kind of reenter society after being gangs or being incarcerated obviously while it's changing many employers still reluctant to hire people with felony records and in response to that you create your own businesses aside from the bakery which is probably the best known because it has locations in los angeles tummy a little bit more about some of the other social enterprises that homeboy industries has launched so at our headquarters. We have homeboy bakery homegirl. Cafe and homeboy homegirl marchandise. And then we have the restaurant at the airport a city hall. We have homeboy diner. The only place to get food at city hall. We have a thing called homeboy grocery where we sell chips salsa and guacamole and a variety of grocery stores boy recycling which is recycling. You waste which quite an extensive of business and growing amboise silkscreen and embroidery. That's been around for twenty seven years. Lap boesky nine in there so That's a lot. that's a lot. I was telling you earlier before we went live that i saw you profile and sixty minutes in. I think in the late eighties early nineties and i grew up in in los angeles. You're such a legendary figure there. I'm you've been awarded the california peace prize. And i mean you're a priest at the end of the day like your priest you do. Mass obviously socially distant for people who are incarcerated. But you're also an entrepreneur. Did you consider yourself as an entrepreneur when you founded this organization. Do you think of yourself that way. Now why board would never sign on the notion that i know anything about business so i don't really see it that way but we're always responding if tattoos had become a an obstacle in gang members. One of them off. We started that even in terms of our businesses. They were kind of haphazard you. There was no business plan. There was an abandoned bakery across the street from our school. Our parochial school in a movie producer. Ray stark after the unrest in ninety two wanted to help and i said well okay. I don't know by this bakery. It has ovens they don't work. You could fix them. We could put hairnets on enemy rival gang members. Well that was the entirety of my business plan. So i think i think everything else kind of operated in the same way. There was a couple from the parish who wanted to start rodriguez silk screening. And i said well. Don't start homeboys screening in. So that's how that was born so you know it wasn't like go some big master plan and it was all kind of accidental. You know we have a thing called the global homeboy network. Which is you know. Three hundred programs in the country outside kind of modeled on methodology. You know they all want to start a social enterprise and they all want to do food. Which i always say don't but you know because food is hard. Yeah restaurants are really hard sex in us to a bakery cafe and it's hard to talk people out of this. But i was tell do silk screening. That's recession proof. Everybody wants a shirt their family reunion or they're five k. race. And they'll go with you even if it's more expensive because it's kind of the. Paul newman feel good. You know it's like yeah. It's cost more but it helps employees

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