Play Like a Champion "Connects" at Homeboy Industries Gathering 2018
On August 27th, the Play Like a Champion Today Educational Series was thrilled to be involved in the Global Homeboy Network Gathering 2018. Director of Operations Jim Power traveled to Los Angeles, California to speak during the event, which was held at the headquarters of Homeboy Industries on August 26-29, 2018.
Homeboy Industries was founded in the late 1980’s by Father Greg Boyle, a Jesuit priest assigned as a pastor in the gang infested neighborhoods of East Los Angeles. Tired of burying young people who were being killed in gang violence, Father Boyle and others looked for ways to address the escalating problems in the community by creating “positive opportunities” for young people influenced by gangs. Much of this centered on establishing opportunities for education and legitimate employment. Three decades later, Homeboy Industries is a massive success while Father Boyle travels to speak about the values of compassion and kinship at the organization’s core.
“Everything is based on the fundamental principle of connection with the people you are serving,” says Play Like a Champion’s Power about the Homeboy Industries mission. “Through connection you gain a mutual respect for one another. You recognize the gifts of the person you are connecting with and they recognize yours. That leads to love. The message of Homeboy Industries is all about love.”
In 2014 the organization began hosting an annual gathering as part of its mission and outreach. This year’s conference drew more than 400 individuals who have been inspired by the Homeboy Industries message to make a positive impact in their own communities.
Play Like a Champion’s Power was invited to speak at this year’s event alongside Josh Goralski of Old Saint Pat’s Church in Chicago, IL. While Goralski spoke about the success of the Old Saint Pat’s Kinship Initiative, Power focused on Play Like a Champion’s collaboration with Old Saint Pat’s, UCAN Chicago and the North Lawndale Community in developing the North Lawndale Athletic & Recreation Association (NLARA). The presentation detailed the values at the project’s core while addressing the collaboration and planning necessary to bring together the NLARA. Power also spoke about the development of a prototype that will allow the same model to be replicated in similar communities across the country.
Power considered this a great opportunity to continue sharing the story of the NLARA with others from around the country. “We wanted to show how Old St. Pat’s and Play Like a Champion have utilized the concept of kinship and the practical application of connecting communities through the NLARA,” said Power. (The NLARA) is an example of kinship at both a personal level and community level."
Power and Goralski thought the session was a success and hope the connections made during the event will lead to further conversations with others working to make an impact in the lives of men and women of all ages.
“The presentation was really a very engaging conversation with organizations all over the country,” Power concluded. “It’s incredible the connections that occur in the name of this kinship initiative.”
You can learn more about Homeboy Industries by visiting their website at www.homeboyindustries.org.
You can find out more about the NLARA by clicking here.