Gang intervention innovator gives keynote address to group mentoring young black men

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The founder of the world’s largest gang intervention program visited Kansas City Tuesday night to share his experiences of working with young men in the Los Angeles ghetto.

Father Greg Boyle was in town serving as the keynote speaker for the biggest fundraiser of the year for KC’s Higher Aspirations, a community group that aims to mentor young black men and teach them how to resist a life of crime.

Boyle is the founder and director of Homeboy Industries, a massive gang intervention program that provides hope, training, and support to formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated men and women to help them become productive members of society.

Each year over 10,000 former gang members from across LA come through Homeboy Industries’ doors in an effort to make a positive change.

Boyle talked with FOX 4 at that fundraiser, saying that a life crime often begins for young people when they have no support system and lose hope.

“The terrain is all the same,” he said. “Where there’s poverty and where young people can’t conjure up an image of tomorrow, and then what happens is their present isn’t very compelling for them. If they can’t imagine tomorrow, then they sometimes don’t care whether they inflict harm, or they don’t care whether they have to duck to get out of harm’s way.”

So how do we stop violent crime in our communities?

“I think as soon as we are utterly convinced that we belong to each other,” he said, “then that goes a long way to solutions because then people will care whether a young person in this city falls through the cracks or doesn’t.”

To learn more about High Aspirations, click here: http://www.highaspirationskc.org

To learn more about Homebody Industries, click here: http://www.homeboyindustries.org