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This Mariachi Program Is Helping Boost Attendance and Morale At A California Elementary School

Nestled deep in the San Fernando Valley is Pacoima, a Latino-heavy working-class Los Angeles-area neighborhood with high crime activity and poverty rate. But it’s not all gloom and doom in Pacoima. The neighborhood’s Haddon Avenue Elementary School has implemented engaging and playful learning opportunities for its young students through its STEAM-rich (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) academic programs. One of those enrichment clubs is its Woodcraft Rangers mariachi club.


The Woodcraft Rangers Mariachi Club is the only one of its kind in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

CREDIT: YouTube/Woodcraft RangersPhoto

There are currently 40 performers in the ensemble, aged 6 to 11, who are learning to play instruments found in traditional mariachi music.

CREDIT: YouTube/Woodcraft RangersPhoto

These pint-sized performers are so popular there’s a waiting list to join the club.

But the program is doing more than expose these kids to the arts — it’s also helping them to stay in school.

“One of the benefits that we’ve seen, is that the students that are participating, are doing better in class, and that’s significant for me as a principal because we want our kids to do better,” Ramos said.

WATCH: Mariachi-nitos

Would you want your kids to attend an enrichment program like this? Let us know in the comments below!

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Organizers Hire Mariachis To Play In Front of Ted Cruz’s House After Fallout From Cancun Vacation

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Organizers Hire Mariachis To Play In Front of Ted Cruz’s House After Fallout From Cancun Vacation

Photo via JackTheRiot/Twitter

You know the old saying: “If Ted Cruz can’t go to Mexico, bring Mexico to Ted Cruz.” At least we think that’s how the saying goes.

After catching major blowback from both sides of the aisle for going on vacation when his state was in crisis, some Texans don’t feel like accepting Sen. Cruz’s apology.

On Sunday, a Texas man hired a mariachi band to play in front of Ted Cruz’s house.

A crowd of Cruz’s neighbors gathered around the band while they played beautiful traditional mariachi songs. A group of protestors stood in front of the band, holding up signs that read “Cruz’s lives cost lives” and “Smash fascism!”

As a recap, Ted Cruz drew the ire of the entire country when he left a snow-drenched Texas to vacation in Mexico while his constituents were dying. According to reports, an estimated 32 Texans have died due to the freezing temperatures and continuous power outages in the state.

Once his trip went public, Cruz quickly returned home and placed the blame on his school-age daughters.

“It’s unfortunate, the fire storm that came from it. It was not my intention,” he told ABC13. “In saying yes to my daughters to somehow diminish all the Texans that were going through real hardship.”

Later, texts between Cruz’s wife and their neighbors were leaked. The texts showed his wife, Heidi Cruz, describing their house as “FREEZING” and asking the group if anyone was up for an impromptu trip to Cancun. She proposed they all stay at the Ritz-Carlton.

The man that organized the protest, Bryan Hlavinka, tweeted out a video of the protest with the caption: “There was a little fiesta in front of la casa de @tedcruz today.”

He posted another video of the band arriving at Senator Cruz’s house. “Just a typical Sunday. Mariachi band in tow,” said Hlavinka. “On our way to Ted Cruz’s house because he feels so bad about missing his vacation.”

Another similar page raising money for a Thursday mariachi visit to Ted Cruz’s house was also recently posted on GoFundMe. The description of the fundraiser is not without its fair share of sarcasm.

“Senator Cruz, being an amazing dad, dropped off his family in Cancun in the middle of a major crisis and came back to Texas to continue serving his constituents,” wrote the page’s organizer, Adam Jama. “We want to thank Senator Cruz for his leadership and pay for an amazing Mariachi band to perform for him. No one should go to Cancun and not listen to Mariachi.”

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Neighbors Raised $60k to Keep this Mariachi Band Family From Being Evicted During the Pandemic

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Neighbors Raised $60k to Keep this Mariachi Band Family From Being Evicted During the Pandemic

Photo via Cielito Lindo Family Folk Music/Facebook

While the pandemic has negatively impacted a lot of Americans, those who derived their income from in-person industries like food, hospitality, and live entertainment, have been hit the hardest.

Once COVID-19 shut the country down, many household were forced to scramble to make ends meet. And while the government offered some assistance, for many it wasn’t enough.

This predicament was exactly what the Chicago family, the Luceros, were going through.

The Luceros are a Chicago-based Mexican-American family who moonlight as the mariachi band, Cielito Lindo. Around Chicago, the Lucero family was known for their astonishing musical abilities.

Juan and Susie Lucero are parents to a talented team of seven children, all of whom play different musical instruments and have breathtaking singing voices. Diego, Miguel, Antonio, Carlos, Lilia, Maya, and Mateo all have different roles within the band, while Juan is the bandleader.

Before the pandemic, the Lucero family derived the majority of their income from their live performances. They would cover classic favorites like “El Rey” as well as doing mariachi-twists on modern pop hits like Cardi B’s “I Like it Like That”.

But when COVID-19 hit in March of 2020, the Lucero family was no longer allowed to play live events.

All of their performances were canceled. Even their long-standing weekly gig at a local restaurant disappeared. Their income dropped by 40%.

While the Luceros tried to cut corners and make small changes, the reality was, they couldn’t keep up with their bills. By the time Christmas rolled around, they were $18,000 behind on rent. They got an eviction notice.

The family had heard that the government had launched a rent-assistance program, but they couldn’t find many details on how to apply. They were completely lost.

Desperate for help, Juan Lucero reached out to his Facebook friends, asking them if they knew how to apply for government assistance.

But what he got in return was something even better. Their community decided to step up and take action.

“A few of us talked and said, ‘We can’t let them be evicted from their home. There’s just no way,'” their neighbor, Robert Farster, recently told CBS This Morning.

Farster ended up creating a GoFundMe page for the Lucero family. “Our good friends, the Luceros, need help,” he wrote. “Juan, Susy and their seven kids are too proud to ask for it, so as their friends, we’re stepping in.”

Within days, Farster had raised over $60,000, veritably saving the Luceros from eviction.

“It’s like a miracle. We didn’t expect that,” Juan Lucero told This Morning. “It feels like a big warm hug from many people.”

Juan’s wife, Susy Lucreo felt the same way. Despite these divisive times, she felt tons of love and support from her community.

“We feel very much loved and accepted as a Mexican-American family with roots in Guadalajara,” she told This Morning. “And we come together to share that combination of culture, which really is what America is all about–this big melting pot.

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