New documentary focuses on former gang member success stories from Homeboy Industries

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Homeboy Industries is known for its work helping former gang members turn their lives around, and a new documentary explores some of those success stories.

Miguel Lugo spent more than half of his 38 years behind bars. A few years ago, others who changed their lives thanks to father Gregory Boyle and Homeboy Industries helped Miguel change his life.

"I don't want my kids to have to go through what I went through," he said. "He created mentors that came from the same place that we came from. So I'm able more to listen to somebody that lived the life I lived than to listen to somebody that got five degrees."

Emily Chapa spent 27 years as an addict. Now, she's a substance abuse counselor at Homeboy Industries.

"Nothing worked until I was welcomed into this community of love, family, kinship. Stuff that I'd never been really able to experience," she said.

Boyle said many of the people he's been with through the organization were abused as children.

"Unspeakable things were done to these kids, and so, then you start to stand in awe of what they've had to carry rather than judgement," he said.

Gabriel Lopez, who just got an associate's degree, said there was never anything to help him get out of the lifestyle in the neighborhood he grew up in.

"We had no resources in the neighborhood and so Homeboy Industries gave us all the resources that we needed to change our lives," he said.

Brave New Films is making the movie, called "Healing Trauma: Beyond Gangs and Prisons," available for free on social media.

"Our mission is to have this film widely seen by as many people as possible so we can affect change with the film," president Robert Greenwald said.

Thousands of people walk through the doors every year and statistics show there are 120,000 gang members in Los Angeles County alone.
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