|Marcus pictured with our chips and salsa team at our annual fundraiser, Lo Maximo.|
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Rasheena’s mother, whom she had become close with again after high school, passed away suddenly after Rasheena recovered from a devastating car accident. This sent Rasheena’s world spinning, and she participated in a crime that led to her incarceration. Rasheena was sentenced to 6 years and 8 months in prison, leaving her daughter alone just as her mother had done to her. Realizing the error of her ways and having grown tired of running from her past, Rasheena vowed to be stronger, no longer falling victim to others around her.
Rasheena received the diploma she earned in the Spring last week. She plans to continue furthering her education. She has found a true safe-haven in Homeboy Industries and has developed the courage to finally speak out, hoping to reach out and help victims of abuse everywhere. Rasheena wants to share this advice: “when faced with life’s difficulties, always remember you’re not alone, your life is a precious gift, you too can achieve anything as long as you keep an open mind to life’s countless possibilities. Always remember no matter the hardship life throws our way, I am a living witness that time heals all wounds. Never again will I allow the horrors of my past to define me. I’ve broken through my barriers victoriously and these victories define the woman I am today.”
Monday, July 16, 2012
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Thursday, May 10, 2012
For a moment today, before morning meeting started, the lobby at Homeboy was like a Museum gallery. The curator and artist Daniel, talking to Juan and Gabriel about his drawing, explaining the images and telling the story of the picture. If you look closely at Daniel’s drawing, you can see in the images, six hands. They spell out “I love you”, sitting atop Mayan inspired pedestals. Off over in the top right corner of the drawing, is an image of an hourglass. Daniel spoke of the time he knew he was wasting while in prison and that the hourglass symbolized that wasted time.
Daniel recently spoke at Homeboy’s annual gala, Lo Maximo. He told his story to the over 800 guests in attendance.
He grew up the youngest of seven kids and his father died when he was four years old, leaving his mother to raise all of her children as a single parent. Daniel started hanging out on the street at an early age, drinking and doing drugs. He was incarcerated for the first time when he was 15. In jail was the first --- and still only time --- that Daniel has ever slept in a bed.
As Daniel reflects on this time, he says that he tried to always look for a way to get back into jail. He was good at this fighting and gang-lifestyle thing. Daniel decided to change his life when his daughter was born. The instant he saw her, he wanted nothing to do with the violent life he had been living.
Daniel came to Homeboy in January this year for tattoo removal. He had no idea he could get a job, and he applied right away once he found out. He is now on our janitorial/maintenance crew. He says, “Homeboy is more than a job, or a class or a tattoo removal. It has helped me change into the person I want to be.”
Daniel is working right now to gain shared custody of his daughter. With help at Homeboy from his therapist, case manager, and the legal services department, Daniel has the help and the tools necessary to go through this process in family court. Daniel is forthcoming that at first, “The judge didn’t like me, but who could blame her, with my rap sheet?” But Daniel also says, “I’m growing on her.”
Daniel now has unsupervised weekend visits with his daughter. Daniel never thinks he will lose the fighter in himself, but now he does it the right way and fights for the important things in his life, like being a dad. Homeboy has brought Daniel hope.
When Daniel shares his story, his drawings, parts of his life and his past, he is helping others. He is helping others find hope, encouraging them to make that first tattoo removal appointment, to go to an addiction class, to sign up for GED tutoring, to come to Homeboy and apply for a job.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Many of the young people at Homeboy will mention that they've never been outside of Los Angeles. Sometimes you realize they haven't been much IN it either-- growing up with families who didn't have the resources to make it far outside of their neighborhoods, our "homies" often haven't had much experience with what many Angelenos take for granted. In the past few months Homeboy has begun an unofficial outdoor adventure club; surfing, snowboarding, and hiking are a few of the new activities that have been stirring up excitement. One homie put it thusly after dislocating his shoulder during a somewhat overambitious snowboard jump: "forget gangbanging, I've found my new rush!"
This weekend, we ventured out to Chantry Flats for a hiking expedition that brought a little sweat and a lot of tranquility. We hope to continue these outings as the days get longer and the light stays later, and bring back a little bit of the Los Angeles childhood our homies may have missed the first time.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Someone mentioned that a homegirl was interested in joining the surf trip, but that she was a little worried.
"Worried about wearing a bathing suit?"
"No, worried about... floating"
Having grown up in kidney pool-dotted west LA, I take floating for granted.
Thomas is a friend of Homeboy who had the brilliant idea to take some of our homies surfing-- getting outside somewhere that isn't mostly concrete is an experience that many of them didn't have much growing up, and is now quite alluring.
The first order of business for Robert, Mario and Andre was getting wetsuits on. Robert complained that he couldn't "sag" his pants, and Andre suddenly had an appreciation for the effort women put into wearing spandex. They all put them on backwards first.
As with any surf lesson, things started with a lot of immediate face-first plunging.
Eventually though, every participant stood up and caught a sweet ride.
It was a perfect glassy day and we ended with snacks and shell-collecting. The kind of Sunday you try not to take for granted.