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Rescuing a Future

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Rescuing a Future

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SCE Credit Union has established a rock-solid reputation as a reliable financial resource. We’re committed to providing members and local businesses the tools they need to succeed. We’re also known for our outreach, our dedication to diversity and equality. Our blog has been highlighting organizations and nonprofits we support.  Amazing work is being done in Southern California and Southern Nevada. Homeboy Industries, based in Los Angeles’ Chinatown, is a great example.

In 1988 Gregory Boyle, pastor of the Dolores Mission Church, founded Homeboy Industries to improve the lives of former gang members. Today, it’s the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation, and re-entry program in the world. Homeboy Industries has served as a blueprint for more than 250 organizations around the globe.

Homeboy provides support and training to men and women who were gang members and have been incarcerated. These are people stuck in a cycle of recidivism, people who believe their future is either a return to jail or death. Every year, Homeboy Industries welcomes 9,000 people, all clinging to the hope there’s still a second chance. In fact, more than two-thirds will transform their lives. 

Homeboy Industries has several programs designed specifically for people whose lives have been impacted by childhood trauma, gang related violence, domestic violence, and legal struggles. They offer tattoo removal, legal assistance, mental health programs, anger management, substance abuse assistance, parenting classes, programs for victims of domestic violence and more. 

Every year, 400 men and women deemed the “least likely to succeed,” are put into an 18-month re-entry program that focuses on healing, and job training. Alison Lass, Manager Global Homeboy Network and Media Relations says, “These are the people most on the margin, but most beat the odds. In fact, about two-thirds of senior staff graduated from the program.” The program consists of education and hands-on work experience. Homeboy Industries has created several enterprises where the former gang members learn more marketable skills. There’s a bakery, café, diner, a silkscreen operation, and more. The program often begins with a three-day work week at one of the enterprises and transitions into full time. Trainees are paid a stipend, but what they really earn is self-respect, self-reliance, and self-esteem. Men and women who thought their future was bleak, become believers in a future of opportunity and options. Homeboy Industries work force development helps them find jobs outside the organization. 

SCE Credit Union has worked with Homeboy Industries for nearly 20 years. “Homeboy Industries has been a Select Employee Group of our Credit Union for many years,” says SCE FCU’s Pascual Garrido, Director of Business Development & Advocacy. That, according to Garrido, means anyone who works there can join. The relationship does go beyond membership. “Throughout the years we have participated in events held at their facility, and conducted Financial Education Workshops,” Garrido adds.  

Gangs are a problem throughout the United States. Los Angeles has a large problem. The city is referred to as the “Gang Capital of America.” There are in fact an estimated 450 active gangs and nearly 50,000 members. Perhaps the most jarring statistic is the average life expectancy of an active gang member. It is only 20 years and five months. Homeboy Industries gives men and women the chance to leave a life of crime and violence and build a life of peace and prosperity.