Party With A Purpose
Each year just before Christmas, Homeboy Industries hosts their annual holiday party for the families of over 200 formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated men and women.
For the past several years, Marlborough families have been invited to participate, with students, parents and employees helping to serve food, run games, hand out prizes, and coordinate arts and crafts, among other activities.
Lucy R. ‘21 has participated in the event for the past two years. “It’s all fun, but my favorite job at the party is handing out prizes to the kids,” she said. “We get to help them choose, which means talking to them about what they like, whether it’s soccer or reading or art.”
Each year, over 10,000 former gang members from across Los Angeles come through Homeboy Industries’ doors in an effort to make a positive change. They are welcomed into a community of mutual kinship and a wide variety of services ranging from tattoo removal to anger management and parenting classes. Full-time employment is offered to more than 200 men and women at a time through an 18-month program that helps them re-identify who they are in the world and offers job training so they can move on from Homeboy Industries and become contributing members of the community.
“Partnering with Homeboy on this event has become a holiday tradition that the Marlborough community looks forward to each year,” said Javier Espinoza, Community Partnerships Program Head at Marlborough. “Not only is it a meaningful day of celebration that brings together Homeboy Industries’ families, but it’s also an opportunity for our girls to give back alongside their own parents and teachers in support of an organization whose work is truly making a difference in Los Angeles.”
Beyond this event, students had the opportunity to further discuss mass incarceration, an issue that directly affects Homeboy families, at our “How Can I Help?” workshop on the topic. Students who attended left with a better understanding, a list of concrete steps one can take to mitigate the impact of mass incarceration, as well as a list of volunteering opportunities with nonprofits like Homeboy Industries. More topics that the Social Justice and Community Partnerships Department will address through this new workshop series include domestic violence, transphobia, and human trafficking.