East L.A. Immersion

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Gonzaga Students Experience the Power of Community

 

immersion |iˈmərZHən, -SHən|

1. an act or instance of immersing
2. state of being deeply engaged or involved

The East L.A. Immersion Experience was created by students in Gonzaga’s Comprehensive Leadership Program and began in 2007.  Each spring break, a group of students travel to L.A. and experience a unique community that has made a remarkable transformation over the past few decades. 

Though the Boyle Heights name is not directly tied to Gonzaga alumnus, Fr. Gregory Boyle ('77)*, his work to help transform the community would surely make it appropriate if it were. 

Homeboy Industries, founded by Fr. Boyle in 1992, is now the largest and most successful gang intervention program in the nation. 

Through their interaction with the people of Boyle Heights, students are able to experience the power of community and gain a new understanding of social change.

* Fr. Boyle's book, Tattoos on the Heart was assigned to the class of 2015 —a book which many professors integrated into their courses. Fr. Gregory Boyle’s book reflects on his work with gang members and the Boyle Heights community.  The Los Angeles Times described it as “destined to become a classic of both urban reportage and contemporary spirituality.”