The Little Market recently had the pleasure of co-hosting with Homeboy Industries for this month’s speakers series, Coffee + Conversation, in the Pacific Palisades, Calif. These monthly installments are a key part of sharing more about the artisans we work with, issues their communities endure on a daily basis, and meaningful ways in which we can all make a positive difference.
Homeboy Industries is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering individuals who were formerly incarcerated and gang-involved and providing second chances. It is the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation, and re-entry program in the world. While Homeboy Industries houses several divisions, we have currently partnered with the organization through its screen-printing social enterprise and through a charity collaboration.
Thank you to our incredible panelists, speakers, and audience for joining us.
The Little Market strives to create a platform for women who are making a difference. The room was filled with warmth and welcomeness to an open forum where a diverse community can come together to have honest and raw conversations. That is what makes Coffee + Conversation a special event, to allow women to come together to listen and share their stories.
Meet our Panelists
We had the privilege to have Christine Lynch facilitate the discussion with Shirley Torres, Mariana Henriquez, and Pernille Spiers-Lopez as our panelists. This group of incredible women gave their insights on Homeboy Industries’ important work.
Christine Lynch was the perfect facilitator, and she spoke so profoundly of Homeboy Industries. As a serving member of The Little Market Council and a board member for Homeboy (13 years and counting), Christine embodies what it means to be a server beyond her community.
“We are hope dealers.”
Shirley Torres, the Director of Re-entry Services of Homeboy Industries, has worked for Homeboy Industries for 16 years. She spoke so passionately about the services of Homeboy Industries describing the work as, “It is not about saving lives, but about serving people.” The best way to serve those who need guidance and healing is to minimize their obstacles and meet them where they are to walk with them. Relief, safety, and hope is something that the men and women of Homeboy or “Homies” never really knew or experienced. They walk through the doors in search of hope and pursuit of change. The success of Homeboy comes from the philosophy and approach in “connecting people to people first and resources second.” Listening to the stories of each and individual Homie is to give them the chance to be heard and understood.
“Here I am now as a role model for all of these men and women. … If I can do it, you can do it too.”
Mariana Henriquez, Director of Culinary Operations for Homegirl Cafe, shared her remarkable story in becoming the woman and leader that she is now. “Finding Homeboy has changed my life. … It saved my life and my son’s life,” she said about the impact that the organization had on her. Mariana spoke on the importance of her role at Homegirl Cafe; she takes it to heart to be a role model for new members or people of her community who seek hope.
“No life is disposable. Every life matters.”
Pernille Spiers-Lopez, the Chair of the Board for Homeboy Industries, first came into the organization asking “How can I help” to soon learn how can she be at service. As a Denmark native, Pernille learned that “No life is disposable, every life matters, and everyone is given a chance in life.” When she moved to the United States, that approach is what became a “fire in her belly” to teach and treat people as such in her workplace. As a board leader, she believes she is there to serve and do more for the souls of Homeboy.
The discussion wrapped up with a Q+A session where the audience had the opportunity to ask questions to learn more about the organization and our panelists. Following the event was a collective effort that raised over $1,000, ultimately to support the work of Homeboy Industries. (A matching donation was made for every dollar spent in our Palisades Village store after the event through 1 p.m.) Thank you to each one of you who supports our mission and advocates for social change.
During the event, we also enjoyed delicious pastries provided by our friends at Homegirl Cafe and Sweet Laurel Bakery, which is located just around the corner from our brick-and-mortar store in the Palisades Village.
Upcoming Coffee + Conversations
If you’d like to learn more about the topics discussed at this Coffee + Conversation discussion, here are a few links for reference:
Volunteer Opportunities – Volunteer with Homeboy!
Our Collaboration – The Little Market will donate 50 percent of the purchase price of each bag sold to Homeboy Industries.