Homicides in L.A. are at a 60-year low. While the police, politicians and pundits clamor for credit, I'd like to remind everyone of the role being played by the many selfless people and organizations in the communities of Los Angeles.
Take the founder and leader of Homeboy Industries for example. In a community often painted with violence, hatred, misunderstanding and fear, a beacon of light shines for the gang-infested youth of South Central Los Angeles. His name is Father Gregory Boyle, a man who has dedicated his life to rehabilitating the lost souls of young men who have already been earmarked as a waste to society.
His platform, "jobs not violence," is simple -- but his work is not. Rehabilitating and reintegrating a prisoner or hopeless young person into society is not an easy transition. Let's be real, the ex-cons, as we refer to them, are hardly a welcomed sight to the well-mannered public citizens of America. Finding jobs, mentors and structure is nearly impossible and opportunities are seemingly and practically, non-existent. Imagine yourself giving a job interview only to learn that the applicant has committed armed robbery. Would you hire him or her? Through faith and perseverance, inspiration and innovation, Father Boyle changes that equation.
Meeting Father Boyle made me realize how guidance leads to goodness which, if seasoned over time, might mature into greatness. Father Boyle does more than just find jobs for former prisoners and at-risk youth; he instills confidence and creates entrepreneurial businesses for them to flourish.
Just as important, he puts the father in Father Boyle. The irony isn't lost on me. Having visited San Quentin prison twice and engaged in intimate conversations with many inmates, it's not hard to realize a common thread in all of them. The lack of any home life and more specifically, a father figure to help guide them through the maze of life is so often the nucleus of the problem for prisoners and kids tempted by gang life. Father Boyle fills that void and helps many once hopeless people find a new life.
At Homeboy Industries they live by the motto "nothing stops a bullet like a job," and with the data coming out showing a decrease in LA homicides, I have to believe it's the selfless work of Father Boyle and many like him that are putting the real dent in murder rates here.
If you get the chance, pay Homeboy Industries a visit. It is a life transforming experience. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this short film we at Explore.org did to shine a light on the important work they do.
The internet's best stories, and interviews with the people who tell them. Learn more