Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Summer and family
It's difficult to understand what it takes to leave a gang. Deciding to walk away from a lifestyle that leads only to violence should be easy, we think, but we may forget that this also means leaving the friends, family, even the neighborhood that you've always known. Herein lies what may be the hardest task facing those who come to Homeboy Industries: divorcing themselves from the people and places that have, until now, been home.
This fundamental shift, "having to throw out the phonebook," as one homegirl put it, is why the community of kinship at Homeboy is so important. Many of our employees spend time together on the weekends, or bring their kids to the events that work makes available (we're always thrilled when baseball tickets show up) because it's simply not safe for them to be around their old friends or family. For other homies, free time consists of not leaving the house all too much.
Last Friday, Homeboy held our 9th annual family picnic- a frenetic, happy day in the park right behind Dodger Stadium. It was a few hours for our employees to have a real gathering, a safe congregation of young people and their children, a snapshot of rest and fun in the steady, slow work toward a better life.