15 ON 15 MAY 2015
Homeboy Industries provides hope, training, and support to formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated men and women, allowing them to redirect their lives and become contributing members of society.
Ever since moving to Los Angeles in 1999, I have heard and read so many many wonderful things about this organization. When the L.A. chapter of Atlas Obscura (cool international group doing very cool things) offered a tour of the Homeboy facility, I knew it was time I checked them out. I arrived to a bustling lobby and friendly smiles.
Kendra Brown introduced herself to our group and let us know she would be our tour guide. We gathered out front and she began by telling us her story. The hows and whys of how she found Homeboy. And how Homeboy accepted her back into the program only a few months ago, upon her release from federal prison, even though she didn’t succeed with them the first time around. She was so real. And honest. And appreciative of every single opportunity she has right now. She is working very hard for all of it. She told us we could ask her anything. We did. I was so moved by her and her honesty. So was our entire group. There were tears and there was applause. This lady is on her way to a new life. She said she is ready this time and I could see it. The positive effects in just a few short months are making her and her two young boys shine.
From Monday Morning Meditation to Anger Management to Employment Services, a wide variety of classes and programs are offered.
After the tour we enjoyed lunch at the adjoining Homegirl Café. As their websites states:
Homegirl Café & Catering is one of Homeboy’s six social enterprises, where young men and women are placed in what is often their first “real job,” learning to work side by side with their former enemies and gaining fundamental job skills in a supportive environment. The café assists high-risk and formerly gang-involved young women, and a few young men to become contributing members of our community through training in restaurant service and culinary arts. Homegirl Café has an 18-month training certificate program that empowers women to support themselves and their families while receiving needed services as they work toward a better life.
The food is fresh and delicious, I whole-heartedly recommend the tacos on grilled nopal (cactus leaf)!
The open and airy space doubles as an art gallery showcasing the talent found at Homeboy. I was especially taken by the photo-realistic paintings of Art Carrillo.
Don’t forget to visit the bakery case packed full of delicious homemade treats and be sure to take home some of their incredible salsas. I can’t believe it took me so long to pay them a visit. Really great stuff is happening here and the vibe is so good. I'm now a regular.
Be sure to continue the 15 on 15 blog circle and check out what Lynn David Photography has been up to this month.