Priest who helped rehabilitate gang members to speak at United Way kickoff

By Dan Stokes - [email protected]
Father Boyle - Submitted Photo

WILKES-BARRE — The United Way of Wyoming Valley has enlisted the help of a priest who worked in some of Los Angeles’ worst neighborhoods to help begin the organization’s 2018 campaign for its Poverty to Possibility Movement.

Father Greg Boyle will be the keynote speaker for the United Way’s kickoff event later this month.

The campaign is aimed at developing long-term solutions to reducing childhood poverty in the region by supporting new and existing strategies in education, income and health.

In Luzerne County, nearly one third of all children live below the poverty level, according to a United Way press release.

The kickoff event will be Thursday, Sept. 13, at the Keystone Ballroom at Mohegan Sun Pocono from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. It will feature Boyle’s inspiring story of redemption in the midst of crime and poverty.

Nearly three decades ago, the Jesuit priest landed in Los Angeles’ gang-heavy neighborhoods. He would eventually become the founder of Homeboy Industries, the largest gang intervention, rehab and re-entry program in the world. His organization focuses on employing former gang members in a myriad of businesses.

Boyle is a New York Times best-selling author for his book,”Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion.” He was also the subject of Academy Award-winning documentary, “G-Dog,” the release states.

He is an inductee of the California Hall of Fame, and he has also received the California Peace Prize.

In 2014, Boyle was recognized by the White House when he was named a Champion of Change under the Obama administration.

The United Way will also present its “Partner Agency of the Year” award.

The kickoff reception will include food, beverages and music by Big Daddy Dex. Tickets for the event are $45.

For more information or to make a reservation, call the United Way at 570-829-6711.

Father Boyle Boyle Submitted Photo

By Dan Stokes

[email protected]

Reach Dan Stokes at 570-991-6389 or on Twitter @ByDanStokes

Reach Dan Stokes at 570-991-6389 or on Twitter @ByDanStokes