“Kindness is the only strength there is.” – Fr. Greg Boyle
Jose and David started adolescents like many young people growing up in poverty in Los Angeles—they joined a gang. After struggles living on the streets and being incarcerated, their lives took a turn when they met the Rev. Gregory J. Boyle, S.J.
Fr. Greg is the founder and executive director of L.A.’s Homeboy Industries, the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation, and re-entry program in the world. The three men were on hand to speak to NDP’s Upper Level as part of the 2016 Stone Soup Program. Their stories were jarring, emotional, honest, and holy, as they shared how all of their lives changed for the better thanks to Homeboy Industries and how they are now working to help others do the same.
Below are “Seven Mantras to Live B, according to Father Greg Boyle” which senior Erin Dodson compiled. These messages spoke to both her and all who attended the talk:
- You are so much more than the worst that you’ve done. You are more than your mistakes and you can learn from them.
- NDP is a place you go from. Go forth and change the world.
- There can be no justice without kinship. We must unite to fight against unfairness in the world.
- You are empowered, no matter who you are or where you come from.
- You have the power to change the world. Use it.
- When you put others before yourself, you can be truly happy.
- Tear down the barriers that divide us. We are all alike in many ways
Father Boyle is the author of the New York Times-bestseller Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, which was named one of the Best Books of 2010 by Publishers Weekly and received the PEN Center USA 2011 Creative Nonfiction Award. Father Boyle is the subject of Academy Award winner Freida Lee Mock’s 2012 documentary, G-Dog. He has received the California Peace Prize and been inducted into the California Hall of Fame. In 2014, the White House named Father Boyle a Champion of Change. He received the 2016 Humanitarian of the Year Award from the James Beard Foundation, the national culinary-arts organization.
Each year for more than two decades, NDP has sponsored Stone Soup Day when the school community comes together for a common meal of bread and soup which is made from donated ingredients. All proceeds go to a designated charity which the students learn about through an assembly presentation. Homeboy Industries will be this year’s designated charity.