By Glenn Montepiedra
The Homeboy Industries Holiday Party will hold its third annual celebration on Friday, Dec. 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Homeboy Industries Headquarters in Downtown LA. The event will be for the business program trainees and their family members. Loyola students along with their parents will craft carnival games for the event, and students from Notre Dame Academy, Immaculate Heart, Marlborough, Flintridge Sacred Heart and Harvard-Westlake will also be volunteering.
The Homeboy Industries Holiday Party will consist of carnival games, arts and crafts, gift-giving, music and food. Director of Community Service Tom Zeko said that the event is organized “to give [the trainees and their families]a sense of community on a positive, upbeat note going into Christmas.”
Jim Oswald ‘78, who organizes the event, said, “The trainees are ex-gang members and/or previously incarcerated men and women looking to ‘reset’ their lives, undo some of the wrongs and bad decisions they made and become contributing members of their communities. ”
When asked about the importance of the event, Oswald said, “So many of the Homeboy trainees are struggling to make ends meet and are not able to celebrate Christmas the way many of us may celebrate. This party allows them to enjoy and have fun with their Homeboy family. It’s a special time for celebrating kinship and looking forward to the future.”
Senior Brian Kendrick, a president of the Community Service Leadership Team who will volunteer at the party, said, “The people who attend do not come from the best backgrounds and just being there to help [the trainees and their family]have a fun time is important, especially since Christmas time is all about family, friends, and having a good time. I think it’s very important to help contribute to that atmosphere.”
Sophomore Aiden Labella, who will serve at the Christmas Party, said, “To sacrifice in order to help others, which is Loyola’s motto, is what you do when you help out at Homeboy’s.”
Any Loyola student who would like to help by volunteering for the event, contact Zeko in the Community Service Center.