Fr. Gregory Boyle at Redlands

Gregory Boyle

Founder of anti-gang effort to visit Redlands

Nationally renowned anti-gang advocate Fr. Gregory Boyle will be the featured speaker at 7 p.m. on March 6 in the Memorial Chapel. 

Boyle, a Los Angeles native, has been an advocate for at-risk and gang-involved youth in Los Angeles and around the world for more than 25 years. Ordained a priest in 1984, he also earned a bachelor's degree from Gonzaga University, and master's degrees from Loyola Marymount University, the Weston School of Theology, and the Jesuit School of Theology.

Before founding Homeboy Industries in 2001, Boyle taught at Loyola High School and worked with Christian Base Communities in Cochabamba, Bolivia. He was appointed pastor of Dolores Mission in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles in 1986. He also spent time as chaplain of the Islas Marias Penal Colony in Mexico and at Folsom Prison before returning to the mission.

Homeboy Industries traces its roots to Jobs For A Future (JFF), a program created in 1988 by Boyle at Dolores Mission parish. 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.

In 1992, as a response to the civil unrest in Los Angeles, Boyle launched the first business: Homeboy Bakery, with a mission to create an environment that provided training, work experience, and above all, the opportunity for rival gang members to work side by side. The success of the bakery created the groundwork for additional businesses, and JFF became the independent nonprofit Homeboy Industries in 2001.

Today Homeboy Industries nonprofit economic development enterprises include Homeboy Bakery, Homeboy Silkscreen, Homeboy/Homegirl Merchandise, and Homegirl Café.

Boyle's first book, "Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion," received the 2010 SCIBA (Southern California Indie Booksellers Association) Non-Fiction Book Award and was named as one of the Best Books of 2010 by Publishers Weekly.

The presentation is sponsored by the University of Redlands Office of the Chaplain, Campus Diversity and Inclusion and the Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Redlands.

The University has a long tradition of encouraging and supporting study abroad.

More than 47 percent of Redlands undergraduates participate in study abroad programs.

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