In Partnership With Homeboy Industries Youth Re-Entry Center Celebrate The Student’s New Library At The Center
The Homeboy Youth Re-entry program was established, based on dire need, in 2020! While 2020 was not a good year for the world, Homeboy Industries, true to their mission, knew that our young people needed a safety net and proceeded to create the first youth re-entry center in Los Angeles county. The center is connected to the Learning Works Charter School, which serves youth who are re-entering from juvenile detention centers/camps as well as youth who have dropped out of high school.
“In LA County, youth are confined at higher rates in both state and local correctional facilities.” Homeboy industries Website
Gordon Philanthropies and the Youth Re-entry staff worked with the students to help design and create a library at the center. The goal was for the students to choose the color palette, design, furnishings, and books, as well as to take ownership of their space (their home away from home). To receive school credits, each student had to sign-up for a specific task. We had a project manager, buyers, an accountant, a book committee, and an artist (to name a few of the roles and responsibilities).
The library was completed in three days. The students pulled together and supported each other whenever someone felt lost with a specific task. There were disagreements on the color scheme and chosen furniture pieces, but it was managed in a collegial way by the students themselves. Natalie, when asked what she learned about the project responded, “Teamwork and how it works.” She went on to say, “I didn’t think we would agree on anything, but then it all worked out.” The library is warm, inviting, and, as the kids describe it, a safe place for us.
For the Gordon Philanthropies staff, the project was a joy. There were deadlines and a lot of moving parts, but the students exhibited a willingness to learn and stepped-up. Meanwhile, being surrounded by young adults, who are playful with each other and exhibit a great sense of humor, reminded the staff in the room on the value of laughter.