Father Greg Boyle, founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries, whose award-winning memoir Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion spent more than a year on the Los Angeles Times bestseller charts, will discuss and sign his book as part of the Friends of the Long Beach Public Library Blanche Collins Forum on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 2pm. The doors of the Main Library Auditorium at 101 Pacific Ave. will open at 1:30pm. Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell will introduce Father Boyle. This free event is open to the public.
Homeboy Industries traces its roots to “Jobs For A Future” (JFF), a program created in 1988 by Boyle at Dolores Mission parish in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. The church sits between two large public housing projects known for decades as the “gang capital of the world.” In an effort to address the escalating problems and unmet needs of gang-involved youth, Boyle and the community developed positive alternatives, including establishing an elementary school, a daycare program and finding legitimate employment for young people. JFF’s success demonstrated the model followed today– that many gang members are eager to leave the dangerous and destructive life on the “streets.”
Homeboy Industries is a series of nonprofit economic development enterprises. The programs assist at-risk and former gang-involved youth to become positive and contributing members of society through job placement, training, and education. Above all, Homeboy Industries provides the opportunity for rival gang members to work side-by-side, enabling young men and women to redirect their lives.
As a nationally renowned expert on gangs and intervention approaches, Boyle relates his experiences working within this neighborhood in his book. Tattoos on the Heart, his first book, was awarded the 2010 Southern California Independent Booksellers Association Non-Fiction Award and also named one of the “Best Books of 2010” by Publishers Weekly. Boyle recently received the 2011 PEN Center USA Creative Non-fiction Award.
Boyle has received numerous accolades and awards on behalf of Homeboy Industries, including the California Peace Prize granted by the California Wellness Foundation and a Lifetime Achievement Award from MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund). Boyle was honored with the Civic Medal of Honor by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and the Irvine Leadership Award conferred by the James Irvine Foundation.