This past Christmas break, Loyola students helped serve at the annual Homeboy Industries Christmas Party. Homeboy’s fourth annual party was held on Friday Dec. 22, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Homeboy Headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles.
The Loyola students that volunteered at the event spoke with families assisted with certain booths and games.
Director of Community Service Tom Zeko said, “I enjoy seeing our Loyola guys help make it a good time for the kids and their families.”
Loyola students help distributing food, helping children with arts and crafts and talking with the families that attended.
Homeboy Industries, founded by Fr. Gregory Boyle ‘72, helps former gang members make a positive impact on their lives. Homeboy attracts about 10,000 members annually, who seek help to become a better person.
The Homeboy Christmas Party helps underprivileged families enjoy a holiday and allows children to pick their own gifts, which were donated by schools and organizations from all around Los Angeles.
Sophomore Ryan Zapata helped distribute food along with volunteer at the mini-maze.
Zapata said, “I enjoyed giving back to the community and seeing the joy on the children’s faces. The event lets people going through Homeboy enjoy the holidays.”
The carnival games and activities consisted of face painting, crafting bottle rockets, bean bag toss and a cakewalk. In addition to those activities, several members from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, had a booth at the event.
Sophomore Josh Weiss, who volunteered at the arts and crafts table, said, “I had a fun time showing kids how to piece together the bottle rockets, and my favorite part was seeing the reactions of the kids when we launched the rockets.”
50 Loyola students volunteered at the event, along with former Student Body President Ryan Wallace ‘17, who spoke with the families and entertained children by performing card tricks.
Music teacher Michael Celenza participated at the event, playing the drums during the live music show. Jim Oswald ‘79, who organized the Homeboy event, invited Mr. Celenza to play. Celenza played alongside with famed bassist Nathan East and his son Noah.
Celeneza said, “The party was very enjoyable! It was such an honor to share the stage with Nathan and his son! I actually had to learn a couple of songs right before we played, no pressure.”