- Politics and Social Issues
Homeboy Industries is a nonprofit group that started out as a basic job program and grew into a multi layered organization. Rather than finding a cure for the symptom of gang violence, it created a comprehensive solution to the gang problem. They realized that former gang members and at risk youth need more than job placement to succeed, Homeboy Industries offers a variety of programs, as well as actual jobs, to help people not only get back on their feet, but make sure they stay there for the rest of their lives.
Homeboy Industries offers a variety of different services and programs to help people transition from their criminal past, to productive members of the community.
Tattoo Removal: Gang tattoos or even large visible tattoos with no affiliation can be a huge physical roadblock to many possible job opportunities. Volunteer physicians and a medical director perform 4,000 tattoo removal treatments annually. This free clinic not only allows former gang members to take a step toward a new life, but can be where they first learn about Homebody and all the different services they offer.
Case Manager: Everybody needs a little help and individual attention. Every job trainee works with a case manager, who help them create short and long term goals. The case manager then follows their progress, making sure they are getting the opportunities and tools they need to succeed.
Twelve Step Meetings: Substance abuse is a major problem that oftentimes accompanies people who are involved with gangs and other violent activities. If somebody is going to have any control over their personal destiny, then they must also have control over their substance abuse. Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Criminal/Gang Members Anonymous all hold meetings in the Homeboy’s facilities.
Mental Health: The life of a gang member and in the neighborhoods they are prevalent can leave long lasting emotional scars. Mental health therapist are used to help individuals and groups with their new life. They offer a place for people to work through and learn about many of the challenges brought on by their former lifestyle; Relationship building, parenting classes, grief and loss counseling, and help dealing with domestic violence. These therapist also help with substance abuse and relapse prevention.
Legal Services: Just because somebody decides to put their criminal past behind them, does not mean their legal problems are behind them as well. They may still be facing warrants, child custody issues and countless other legal matters. Expungment of past criminal records can be invaluable for future job opportunities and a fresh start. A full time lawyer is on staff and ready to offer workshops, personal support and referrals for legal help.
Education: Although many people who come to Homeboy for help lack a formal education, the curriculum they can receive goes beyond reading, math and the other academic subjects needed to attain a G.E.D. Homeboys offers classes in life skills, parenting, personal development, finance, budgeting and household management. They offer a variety of art enrichment classes such as creative writing and music. Sticking with their original roots, Homeboys offer many technical job classes. They work with the East LA Skills Center where their clients earn a certificate and learn the skills of solar power installation.
Employment Services: Learning all the skills in the world are going to be of little use if you don’t get the opportunity to use them. Homeboys has counselors that help with building a resume and fine tuning interview skills. These counselors actively hunt for jobs that would be a good fit for their clients. Rather than just pointing them in the right direction, these counselors will take a hands on role and talk to the companies about the challenges and benefits of hiring their clients.
One of Homeboys, and now Homegirls, strongest components are its small businesses. These shops allow them to directly hire hard to place candidates. This in turn allows the person being hired to learn invaluable job skills and build a resume at the same time. These jobs have former game rivals working together in order to succeed.
Homeboy Silkscreen and Embroidery: With personal printing and embroidery on clothing, bags, towels and more, this company is one of their most profitable branches. It is able to employ hundreds of former gang members and help raise funds for their programs. This can be a great way for you to create personal items for yourself and friends, or create large orders for your business.
Homeboy Bakery: This was their first successful business and proof that their idea works. The bakery sells fresh breads, bagels, scones, pastries and croissants. For the customers with a sweet tooth they offer cookies, brownies, lemon bars or cupcakes. Bakers require a particular set of skills, that can open up more specialized job opportunities.
Homegirl Cafe & Catering: The obvious benefits of running a restaurant and catering business is that it creates a variety of job skills. Chefs need to prepare the food, hostesses practice their people skills, and waiters have to balance communication and executive functioning skills. When clients are placed in this business, they must cycle through all three aspects of the business. These include the café and catering, as well as garden & maintenance.
Homeboy and Homegirl Merchandise: Any company and non profit group is going to sell merchandise. It is a great way to bring awareness to your cause, by getting your logo out into the world, and raise money. This was a natural step to creating more jobs for their clients that train them for the plethora (I watch Three Amigos a lot) of retail jobs available.
Homeboy Grocery: Homeboy’s head chef created tortilla strips and salsa recipes that are packaged and sold in many Ralphs, Food 4 Less and other Southern California grocery store. Keep your eyes out for these products on your next shopping trip, because 100% of the profits go back to Homeboy Industries.
*If you wish to learn more about Homeboy industries you can follow the link below.