This holiday season we wanted to do something different at Organic Authority. We wanted to do more than put out a round of holiday gift guides with thoughtfully curated, clean recommendations.
We wanted to give back.
We wanted to make a difference in someone else’s life and make the holidays meaningful this year. If you are fortunate enough to buy the products we recommend on Organic Authority, you are lucky. Not everyone can. We admit it, some of the products are downright expensive. And that’s why we want to give back and help lift others up in our local community to live a life they can be proud of and share with their families.
This holiday season we’ve decided to partner with Homeboy Industries and give eight percent of our net proceeds of our affiliate sales from Holiday Guides to Homeboy Industries. Why Homeboy Industries? I had the honor of touring Homeboy Industries a few years ago (you can read about it here) and what I experienced touched me deeply.
What I saw was a man, Father Gregory Boyle, open his heart and doors to the most demonized population of our society. The men and women society deems unfit for social integration and, many times tossed aside. They’re the gang members, drug addicts, and incarcerated men and women of our society. Father Greg gives them what they’ve never received - unconditional love and acceptance for who they are, right now, as they are. That is, with checkered pasts, violations, addictions, prison time and more. He gives them a second chance at life.
Launched in 1988, Father Greg and Homeboy Industries take in gang members and put them on a path of rehabilitation and healing so they can reintegrate back into society and do the things you and I take for granted. Things like, show up for work every day. Get a steady paycheck to buy the essentials to feed your family. Return to a safe home after a long day’s work. Have and create a healthy relationship with our friends, families and children.
He helps create a pathway for women and men to uncover and discover their own goodness - their true selves and live healthy lives, contributing to the well-being of their families and communities. Fathers and mothers return to their families to parent their children the way they were never parented because they now know who they really are. They know they are valuable, their lives matter and have a part to play and something to give to society.
Consider these statistics. The United States has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. We lock up around 1% of our adult population. That works out to be about two million people behind bars at any given time. As a nation, we spend about $182 billion a year incarcerating these men and women.
And you can't help but ask another question, “Is America’s current prison system working?” In my humble opinion, and I bet you’ll agree with me, no.
Consider Father Greg’s results (see the chart below), they can’t be touched by America’s current prison system. The reduced rates of recidivism and substance abuse are stunning. And the social reconnection and family reunification results are just as impressive.
We aren’t the only ones who’ve been stunned by the innovative model Father Greg has created with Homeboy Industries, the world has noticed too. Since launching the Global Homeboy Network in 2014, over 400 organizations around the world have visited the Los Angeles headquarters to study its unique model and apply it to their local marginalized communities.
Today Homeboy Industries is the largest gang intervention, rehab and re-entry program in the world. Every year, over 9,000 men and women walk through their doors seeking personal transformation. Clients are embraced with kinship and offered a variety of wraparound free services including legal assistance, an 18-month job training program, education, tattoo removal (Homeboy Industries has the largest free tattoo removal service in the nation and remove over 4,000 tattoos per month), mentorship, workforce development, mental health and more.
Homeboy Industries also employ their clients (overcoming in most cases, the number one hurdle former gang members and incarcerated individuals have) in a range of social enterprises including Homeboy Bakery (using only the best high quality organic ingredients), Homegirl Cafe, Homeboy Farmers Markets, Homeboy Electronics Recycling, HomeboyFoods.com, Homegirl Catering, Homeboy Silkscreen, Homeboy Diner, Homeboy Merchandise.
I hope you will join us in giving to Homeboy Industries this holiday season by shopping our gift guides here. You know exactly where your dollars will go. You’ll be helping a Homeboy or Homegirl transform their life as a former gang member, drug addict, or felon filled with pain and perhaps even abuse, into a beautiful life expressing their true gifts that are uniquely theirs. You’ll be helping someone become a better father or mother, breaking the cycle of intergenerational violence.
Not only do I believe that everyone has a right to clean, whole foods, but I also believe that everyone deserves a second chance in life. And getting access to the life tools that so many are in desperate need of to get out of a destructive cycle of recidivism, drug addiction, crime, and pain could be the difference between life and death.
Everyone deserves a second chance at life. Thank you for helping to make someone's future brighter this holiday season. You’re changing not only lives but legacies.