Erika Cuellar: “I’m Erika Cuellar, assistant manager at Homegirl Café, a nonprofit restaurant business that branches out of Homeboy industries, the largest gang rehabilitation program in the United States. In our café we hire and train previously incarcerated women and in-gang affiliated. This is the right place for them to come and find themselves and their purpose in the world”.
Alma: “I have a little girl, she’s the one who motivated me to get a job. Before that, I was out in the streets, always in and out of juvenile hall. I hated school, and at 18 I got pregnant. I never learned from my mistakes, I kept messing up because that was my life, that was all I knew”.
Cindy: “At age 15 I started getting high, gang banging. Every day we would beat people up, hanging around in street corners carrying guns or knives. I did the same thing in jail too. I just got out doing a 7 year sentence for robbery with a weapon, all behind my drugs. I’ve finally realized that that is not the life for me and I’ve decided to do something for myself. This is me now at the Café, a whole different Cindy”.
Siami: “Before I came here I did three prison times. After my mother passed away I started gang banging, selling drugs and using them, turning into a crack addict. Here people give me unconditional love, and I’m part of the gardening department”.