BAKERSFIELD, CA - Members of Homeboy Industries paid a visit to a local high school Tuesday, trying to reach teens before gangs get to them.
Homeboy Industries is a program based in downtown Los Angeles. Some of the people the program has helped get off the streets, talked to Garces High School students.
It's a program 17 News profiled in 2007.
Jesuit priest Greg Boyle, saddened by the loss of young lives to gang violence, started the program to offer a different way of life. It's a place where young men and women headed down the wrong path, can come get counseling, anger management, tattoo removal and help finding jobs.
In return, many of them join Father Boyle's cause, following him to different schools, preaching a way out.
"Homies get help from Homeboy Industries, but we also announce a message," said Father Boyle. "What if we were to invest in people rather than incarcerate our way out of this complex social dilemma?"
Father Boyle brought that message to Garces, and several former gang members spoke to students about how their lives have changed since getting involved in the program.
Homeboy Industries celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.