December, 16 2017

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LA Bakery Helps Troubled Teens

Homeboy Industries threw open the doors of its $8.5 million facility in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday, resurrecting a burned-out bakery that created job opportunities for former gang members and troubled youth.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was among the nearly 500 guests on hand for a ceremonial "breaking of the bread" to celebrate the grand opening of Homeboy Industries inside the Fran and Ray Stark Center at 130 W. Bruno St.

The 5,000-square-foot bakery will be housed there, along with the Homegirl Cafe and a new catering division.

HomeBoy's History, Helping Troubled Teens

Homeboy, a nonprofit center that provides job training and referrals, was founded in 1992 in gang-troubled Boyle Heights by Father Greg Boyle, a Jesuit priest who now serves as executive director of Homeboy Industries.

The original bakery burned down in 1999.

"They took away my home," Danny Marcia, an ex-convict and former gang member who worked at the original bakery and has now returned, told reporters.

Boyle told the press he deliberately chose to rebuild the bakery in a section of downtown Los Angeles that is a neutral gang area.

"We thought, let's not just build a building, we need housing that fits what we've become," said Boyle.

HomeBoy, Now and in the Future

Since its founding, Homeboy Industries has expanded beyond baking and now offers a work placement program along with counseling services, tattoo removal, classrooms and a computer lab, along with the Homeboy Merchandise
Store, selling apparel and merchandise produced on-site at the Homeboy Silkscreening.

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