Rigby Reflects on Time With Homeboy Industries

Kathryn Rigby, who graduated from the Boston College School of Social Work earlier this year, returned to BC on Wednesday to talk about her time as a Jesuit Volunteer with Homeboy Industries, a nonprofit that rehabilitates individuals who were formerly in gangs or had served time in prison.

The talk, attended by students in the School of Social Work and undergraduates interested in nonprofit work alike, focused on how Rigby’s time at Homeboy Industries complements the narratives in Homeboy founder Rev. Gregory Boyle, S.J.’s book Tattoos on the Heart.

Rigby compared the community found in Homeboy Industries to that of a family, and she emphasized how important the idea of kinship was in her experience at the nonprofit. She talked at length about the genuine nature of the people at Homeboy and the positive environment they created.

The audience asked questions about the effectiveness of Homeboy and how it differs from other organizations. Rigby responded by saying that Homeboy works because Boyle listened to what people needed and worked together with them to accomplish it.

In describing the mindset behind the work Homeboy does to help those who come to the organization, Rigby quoted Roman Catholic missionary Ita Ford.

“I don’t have the answers, but I will walk with you, search with you, be with you,” she said.

Although Rigby’s time as a Jesuit Volunteer has come to an end, she continues to attend the annual Global Homeboy Network gathering, where she sees communities come together to locate places of need and bring the values and missions of Homeboy to aid those areas.

Rigby’s narrative brought a personal look to Tattoos on the Heart, allowing the audience to hear about the work done at Homeboy every day, as well as about the impacts this work has had.

“When you’re there, there’s a lot of talk like it’s a bubble, and it kind of is,” she said. “It really is like a safe haven for people with records… and that’s why Homeboy works.”

Featured Image by Katie Genirs / Heights Editor