Transformation Stories

Carlitos Asegura: Who are we? Homeboys! How long will we run? Forever!

Carlitos Asegura knows the power of consistency. He’s training for his first race, the Homeboy Industries “Every Angeleno Counts” 5K on October 18. “I want to go all the way,” he says. “I want to stay consistent. When the day comes, I want to be in good shape and have my endurance and run at a good pace.”

To help him prepare, Carlitos has been participating in the Back on my Feet running program. Three times a week, a dedicated group of runners meets in the parking lot outside of Homeboy Industries. “I get up at three in the morning, jump on the freeway at 5:15. I collect my thoughts, put my gear away. At 5:30, we start stretching, put our hands in, and say, ‘Who are we? Homeboys! How long will we run? Forever!’”

Carlitos first came to Homeboy in 2008. “Every time I would go for a job interview, because of my felonies and background, it was hard for me to find work.” He credits Father Greg Boyle for helping him out. “Father G helped me to go to school. I got certified in solar paneling installation. I got into the labor union. Then I tore my shoulder out.”

After his injury, Carlitos returned to Homeboy. “Right now, when I’m not in my classes, I do maintenance. They need me in the café to clean and do dishes. We go out and clean up the community, too.”

“Right now I’m trying to get my GED and to go back to school,” says Carlitos, who wants to be a youth counselor. “To give back and let them know. To share a little bit about my recovery. It’s all about making the right choices. They don’t have to go to prison, doing life, ending up dead. If I can reach one kid, that would be something I’d like to do.”

Running has become an important part of his recovery, too. Earlier in Carlitos’ training, the group made a trek to the Hollywood sign. “It was awesome. We were walking at a good pace. We didn’t run. We were talking and just interacting and it threw my mind off. Before we knew it, we were at the top.”

Carlitos has seen a lot of improvement in his health. He can now run an eleven-minute mile and four miles without stopping. “It makes me feel good when the youngsters [here at Homeboy] come to me and say, ‘I’m proud of you. You’re sticking it out.’ They tell me, ‘I don’t think I can run a mile.’ I say, ‘You can, if you push yourself and pace yourself. You’re welcome to come with us.’”

Running has shown him that consistency leads to real transformation. “My counselor put me down for a retreat,” he says proudly. In the past, he was hesitant to participate in physical activities. “I used to be mediocre in my recovery. I thought, I’m not going to be able to hike, I’m not going to be able to hang with these
guys. I was afraid to make a fool of myself. I turned it down. Now I’m able to say yes!"


Janet Contreras: Connecting the Dots

Damond Johnson: “We Were at Homeboy for the Same Reason”

Connie Cordero: The Point of Doing Well

Miguel Avila: “I Don’t Want to Let Myself Down”

Erika Vargas: The Small Word That Means Everything

Brazil Jackson: “laugh a little harder, live a little longer”

Marcus Avery: “It’s Family”

Orsy Jerez: Finding an Open Door

Valerie Copeland: “Homeboy is a place where it is ok to be myself”

Will Lopez: “I’ve had my second chance here—and my third, and my fourth”

James Horton: Compassion in Action

Victor Key: A Chance at Happiness

Gordy Abriel: Stepping Into a Brighter Future

Christy Stillwell: From Victim to Advocate

Javier Chavez: Mind, Body, and Spirit

Carlitos Asegura: Who are we? Homeboys! How long will we run? Forever!

Javier Medina: Made from Scratch

David Andrade: “Do it for yourself”

Brandy Harris: “Recognize who you are”

Ruth Butler: “Now I love my life”

Hoang Pham: “Homeboy is my home”

Rasheena Buchanan: “You can’t get this kind of love anywhere else”

Glenda Alvarenga: Hungry for Empowerment

Jermaine Smith: “There’s nothing else like this”

Pedro Mata: Working for a Better Life

Eugene Walker: An Advocate for Positive Living

George Nunez: Being the Father He Never Had

Mariana Enriquez: A Moment of Clarity

Amie Zuniga: How an Accidental Transformation Led to a Life of Purpose

Lami Glenn: “Their generosity is what drives me”

Evan Hess: Father’s Day, every day

Dorene Macias: parenting and paying it forward

Juan Marquez: Constructing Confidence

Gabriel Lopez - Two generations in gangs, two generations of change

Jose Arellano - Lost and found