In searching for innovative programs and ideas it is possible to learn much from those directed at other populations that are not necessarily first generation immigrant families and youth, but that perhaps share some aspects of the many emotional difficulties, like the struggles in parenting, or addressing the trauma experienced in their lives. Those programs can inspire us in their overall philosophy, as well as in some specific interventions utilized. A most wonderful example of an intervention/prevention model working with hard core gang members in the city of Los Angeles is represented by Father Greg Boyle and his Homeboy Industries. In this model, youngsters are offered work training and employment surrounded by an atmosphere of deep loving and compassionate acceptance by all adults working with them, under the inspiring example of Fr. Boyle and, in exchange for them stopping all active participation with gangs. Concurrently, participants are provided psychotherapy and meditation tools to relieve the extended trauma in their lives and to be able to resist the emotional pull of gang life and gang brotherhood. Participants are often invited to workshops and presentations given by Fr. Boyle, so they can share their life experiences with all kinds of audiences, a tremendous boost to their self-esteem and a great learning experience for the listeners. His very moving and at times hilarious book: Tattoos on the Heart – The Power of Boundless Compassion, reveals this incredible experience. (Boyle, 2010).

Tatoos on the heart

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