This is from G-Dog and the Homeboys, a book about Father Greg Boyle and his work with the gangs of East Los Angeles. It’s written by Celeste Fremon.
Greg says “I used to say that the caring adult who pays attention is the most important factor to help a kid succeed. But now I’ve come to believe that the necessary context for that attention is community — meaning a place that reminds you of your goodness and your talent each day. That’s what I think we do here at Homeboy. We provide a place of ‘no-matter-what-ness,’ a place of unconditional love. Ideally it’s not just a person who offers that, it’s a community of feeling and connection and kinship that becomes a touchstone that you can return to when you hit life’s inevitable difficulties. It’s community that helps a kid discover the truth of who he is, in order that he can inhabit that truth. That’s the kid who will be able to withstand the obstacles life throws at him and be okay.” p297 (Epilogue)