As part of their training at Homegirl Cafe, all of our trainees are encouraged to access the array of support services available at Homeboy Industries. Among the crucial support services we offer are: individual and group mental health therapy, case management, substance abuse counseling, education, employment readiness services, and free tattoo removal procedures.
Tattoos -- particularly visible, gang-related tattoos -- are a key barrier that our trainees face in obtaining employment outside of Homegirl Cafe. The tattoo removal process, while very painful, plays an important role not only in preparing trainees for outside employment, but also in helping trainees to re-identify and re-define themselves. The process helps these women remove the external marks of their former involvement with gangs and the criminal justice system, and it mirrors the transformative process they undergo while participating in the Homegirl Cafe training program.
More than 30 local physicians graciously volunteer their time to help women in the Homegirl Cafe, as well as trainees and community clients from Homeboy Industries, remove their visible, gang-related tattoos and further the process of redirecting their lives, re-entering their communities, and becoming better role models for their children.
In the past three months alone, more then 3,000 women and men have undergone treatments, and more than 13,000 tattoos have been removed. We are grateful to the many supporters who help trainees at Homegirl Cafe and Homeboy Industries display these external signs of internal transformation.