I wept when I heard Victor, the Nucleo Director of Ejido, tell us stories of nearby villages that have been ravaged by drug trade and crime and how his nucleo has helped to heal people and build positive community in the face of terror. One account he gave was that of a desperate mother whose family was the victim of a terribly violent crime. In an effort to escape continuing abuse, the mother brought her children to the nucleo in Ejido, hoping to find a place where they could all begin to rebuild their spirit. The kids were given instruments, treated just as the other children and welcomed warmly into this inclusive and nurturing program. Victor told us he watched this family heal through the generous support shared in the El Sistema community. He affirmed that the program is much greater than the study of music. It is about changing lives for the better. It is about taking care of one another and showing compassion for the student, the family, and the community.

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