Father Gregory Boyle, executive director of Los Angeles, California-based Homeboy Industries, recognized as the largest gang intervention and re-entry program in the country, will speak at The University of Findlay as part of the DeBow and Catherine Moore Freed Contemporary Christian Lecture Series. The event, also sponsored by St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, will take place on Friday, Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. in Winebrenner Theological Seminary’s TLB Auditorium. It will be free and open to the public.
Boyle, a Jesuit priest, is an expert on gangs and intervention approaches. Homeboy Industries traces its roots to 1988 and a program created by Father Boyle, “Jobs for a Future,” at Dolores Mission parish. This program was created in an effort to address escalating problems and unmet needs of gang-involved youth. Father Boyle and the community helped develop positive alternatives for these youth, including establishing an elementary school, a daycare and helping them find legitimate employment. This program created the model still used today that many gang members use to leave the dangerous and destructive paths that they are following.
Boyle grew up in Los Angeles County where he worked on his family’s dairy farm. He graduated from Loyola High School in Los Angeles and entered the order of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and was ordained a priest in 1984. He received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Gonzaga University along with a Master of Arts in English from Loyola Marymount University. Father Boyle also received his Master of Divinity from the Weston School of Theology and a sacred theology master’s degree from the Jesuit School of Theology.
He is now a world-renowned speaker, giving multiple addresses at numerous universities and conferences yearly. Boyle’s speeches talk about the importance of adult attention, guidance and unconditional love in preventing youth from joining gangs.
Boyle was a featured speaker at the White House Conference on Youth in 2005 at the personal invitation of Mrs. George Bush and a member of the 1998 10-person California delegation to President Clinton’s Summits on Children in Philadelphia. Father Boyle is also a consultant to youth service and governmental agencies, policy makers and employers. He serves as a member of the National Gang Center Advisory Board; is a member of the Advisory Board for the Loyola Law School Center for Juvenile Law and Policy in Los Angeles; and previously held an appointment to the California Commission on Juvenile Justice, Crime and Delinquency Prevention.
Boyle also is the author of New York Times bestselling book, “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion.”
Prior to the creation of Homeboy Industries, Father Boyle taught at Loyola High School and worked with Christian Base Communities in Bolivia. From 1986-1992 he served as the pastor of Dolores Mission in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. He has also served as chaplain of the Islas Marias penal colony in Mexico and Folsom State Prison in California. In 2009, Father Boyle celebrated his 25th anniversary of ordination as a priest.
In 1992, under Jobs for a Future and Proyecto Pastoral, Homeboy Bakery was launched as the first business with a mission to create an environment that would provide an opportunity for rival gang members to work side by side and also provide training and work experience. The success of the bakery laid the groundwork for additional business, and thus Homeboy Industries was formed in 2001. Today’s nonprofit development enterprises include Homeboy Bakery, Homeboy Silkscreen, Homeboy/Homegirl Merchandise and Homegirl Café.
For more information on Father Boyle and Homeboy Industries, visit http://www.homeboyindustries.org/.