Between August 6 – August 18,  2 senior staff and 2 junior staff members for Exodus Youth Worx (EYW) travelled to Los Angeles for the annual Global Homeboy Network which was hosted by Homeboy Industries.

Since their inception in 1988, Homeboy Industries has become the largest and most successful gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world.  Homeboy and its staff have become global thought leaders in all these areas in addition to social entrepreneurship.

By attending this meeting, EYW was able to convene and share strategies and best practices with not just Homeboy but other non-for-profit organisations.  During the two days we were able to attend workshops and listen to seminars on topics ranging from substance abuse, youth in education to branding and fundraising.

It was a great opportunity to learn how to duplicate the successful Homeboy model and learn how to save lives and serve the people we want to serve.

During the meeting we were able to network with other non-for-profit organisations as well as build the profile of EYW.

After the meeting we spent four days at Homeboy HQ in Los Angeles California.  This allowed us to see first hand the many programs that they operate as well as attend some of their classes.  We saw how they teach anger management classes, run a substance abuse seminar and conduct a healing circle where past gang members talk openly about how they want to turn their lives around. It emphasized that there are many great learnings that we can take back home and put them into practice straight away.

The highlight of the event was by far meeting and sitting with Fr Greg Boyle, the founder and director of Homeboy Industries.   Hearing his story on how he started the organisation 27 years ago and how it has grown over those years was truly inspirational.  We both agreed that it would be beneficial to work together to implement an ‘exchange’ program whereby some of their members visit us while we similarly send a couple.  Without a doubt this will be an amazing learning experience for our members and a great honour for EYW to be apart of.

In between our meetings there were days for sight seeing as it was our first time to the USA.  We managed to visit Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills, see the Hollywood sign, Universal Studios, Santa Monica, Venice Beach and of course shopping and more shopping!!!!

It was definitely a great experience for everyone and we can’t wait to come back in August 2016!