Father Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries and author of the memoir “Tattoos on the Heart,” spoke during an All-School Meeting in Caswell Hall organized by the Marlborough School Charitable Fund (MSCF) on Nov. 10 about his 25 years at Homeboy Industries, a non-profit organization that assists at-risk youth and former gang members in becoming contributing members of their communities through job placement, job training and adult education. In his speech, Boyle emphasized the importance of mutual kinship among all members of society.
MSCF raised $7,500 for Homegirl Cafe, a branch of Homeboy Industries, through “ECOuture,” its charitable fashion show event in 2009. Homegirl Bakery, another offshoot, is well known in the community for their fresh, scrumptious pastries. MSCF Co-President Maya ’12 said that club members were eager to invite Boyle to share his inspiring stories of dedication to community service with the School.
“We hope to raise awareness about the needs of youth in Los Angeles. Through this assembly we hope to broaden people’s perceptions and help them realize the level of need in the very city we live in,” Maya said.
In addition to employment opportunities and education, Homeboy Industries provides free services such as therapy, tattoo removal, legal counseling and anger management classes to anyone who seeks help. Each person who walks into Homeboy Industries’ headquarters in Chinatown to seek help does so completely voluntarily.
Tears were shed as Father Boyle recounted the heartbreaking lives of three men named Puppet, Mario and Bandit. Through the stories, Boyle portrayed his life’s work not as a series of philanthropic or charitable gestures but as fulfilling his responsibilities to a community that has also given back to him.
Hannah ’14 said that she thoroughly enjoyed hearing Boyle’s inspirational words, though she doesn’t view social justice as being necessarily tied to a spiritual obligation.
“I thought there were too many religious references… But I was still really moved by his speech,” Hannah said.
Teachers and students alike were profoundly affected by his stories and words of passion.
“[Boyle was] fabulous… He is a very engaging speaker,” math instructor Alison Moser said.