We had the good fortune of connecting with Victor Calderon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Victor, what’s the most important thing you’ve done for your children?
As a single father to a six-year-old daughter, the most significant impact I try to focus on is being a positive role model. Children are a perfect mirror of parents. They’re always watching and always listening. A child’s behavior depends on what you’re showing them, so in other words, don’t preach what you don’t practice. It’s not an easy job to be a parent, especially a single one, but it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to do it. I thank God, first of all, for blessing me with a beautiful daughter that has changed my life to a more positive one. Besides being a positive role model, I also focus on impacting her with good manners. When it comes to my daughter, I can never be too tired; she is my daily motivation not to give up and my daily dose of sunshine. I may not be the perfect parent, but I try and dedicate as much time as possible to her with my crazy and busy work schedule. God knows I work hard at it, and those hugs, kisses, and “I Love You Papa” means the world to me. In the words of the late great Kobe Bryant, “The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do,” so I thrive on inspiring my daughter and giving her that encouragement that she can be or do everything she puts her mind to…
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
For about 20 years now, I have been working for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) as a special education assistant. I decided to work in this field because I love working with kids and even more with the Special Needs Community. Being a teacher and working in the education field has taught me how to teach my daughter and be the best parent I can be. Children look up to teachers the same way your child looks up to you as a parent. School is a child’s second home; therefore, we have a powerful impact on shaping them. It is crucial to be a positive role model to them every day. Hardships come along with the job. However, I have learned plenty from sharing different experiences with students, teachers, and staff. In this field, it’s imperative to be patient, be willing to listen, and be very compassionate. At first, I had to meet the job requirements to have a full-time permanent position. This caused me to bounce around school sites and work with various students. I eventually landed at the school site I have now been at for about twelve years in Reseda, named Leichman CTC. Leichman has been a home for me. Leichman is an all Special Education school site that serves students with various disabilities from ages 12-22yrs old. Throughout the years, our services have changed and now serve students with all disabilities but from ages 18-22yrs old. Leichman has become a base school site for students with disabilities, focusing on career goals. Such as learning skills from various work strands to help students maintain a real job in the real world. It’s exciting to see what they can accomplish and exciting to know the impact you had on them. You end up getting very attached to the students, like if they were your own. I also work as a Behaviorist with Special needs as a part-time job. It’s only been a couple of years that I’ve been doing that. The only difference is that I work with special education children personally at their homes, focusing on helping them out with their behaviors, whether they’re good or bad. I love my jobs and feel happy knowing I can positively impact them by dedicating myself and time. Throughout my life, I have always been into music. In my early 20’s I got into music production, and even tho I didn’t keep pursuing that field, my heart stayed in touch with music and the culture. I would attend get-togethers, and everyone would ask me to play music since I always had new music or just knew what music to play to have a good time. In my mid 30’s my DJ-ing career came about. I got my hands on a DJ program. I started something I never knew would have an even more substantial positive impact not only with my friends or the public but within the Special Needs Community. DJ VIC was born, and Leichman was my playing field before anything. I started DJ-ing for my students. The joy and excitement I got from watching how happy and excited these kids were with a simple touch of music opened up another side of me that I never knew I had. One funny moment was when a Physical Education teacher came up to me and told me how he tested some of these students while they were dancing. During the regular class time, he couldn’t get them to move to try and test them. Lol! It’s been about 6yrs now since I began my DJ-ing career. I have experienced DJ-ing at bars, lounges, clubs, and events with live performances. It has been another learning experience, and I have had good and bad moments. Still, it’s all part of the journey, making it more exciting to see what you’re capable of reaching or doing. Throughout these years, I’ve gained the skills and knowledge to have my own events and know where my work can impact. Now, I do private events or play at public places, but I DJ for my students every week and host monthly fundraiser dances for Leichman students. I also donate my time to specific fundraisers, especially the ones in the Special Education Community. For a couple of years now, I’ve been participating in a yearly Toy Drive with Northeast Valley Health Corporation (NEVHC) and staying active in any event that I can help out within my community. Since the whole covid hit, it’s negatively impacted our students, especially the Special Education Community. I’ve managed to have gotten together with a team. Through Zoom, I have found a way to bring together our students or community and have a weekly virtual dance. This has had a positively powerful impact. It lets them not only enjoy dancing but be able to communicate with their peers. Through my experiences, I’ve met artists. Every now and then, I have an artist come to perform and donate their time, giving the students that concert experience feeling that many may not experience. I really don’t consider myself a professional skilled DJ like that, but more of an Entertainer. I stay in my own lane regardless and focus on the positive impact that I bring to people or my students in general. It’s such a great feeling to hear from people the effect and happiness that I get to them by playing music and showing how much music is universal. Sometimes students see me and greet me by doing a scratching sign with their hands and yelling out DJ VIC!! Friends and family members also welcome me or know me as the DJ now, Lol! As busy as my life is with work, I try to find as much time as possible to spend with my daughter. I know she’s always watching, so I fill her in about everything that I do. She’s so curious, and I can tell how much it impacts her by asking me questions and wanting to help out in any way she can be involved. She also gets joy when people acknowledge her and thank her for helping out and letting her know what great people she and her Papa are. Music has been and is my get away from the real world, and the feeling that I get when people thank me and appreciate me for what I do or did for them thru music is priceless. I can’t wait to see what the upcoming years have in store for me.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This section is fun because many of my family members come out from other states or countries and always ask me to show them around. Even though I’m from El Salvador, the first place I would go to or recommend is to eat street tacos! Lol! There are many places to choose. I’d probably fill up this section just with that, but a couple of places for sure, I would say, Pablito’s Tacos, King Taco & Sonorita’s L.A. A definite go-to icon is In-N-Out Burger. Another place you can’t miss is the San Pedro fish market. Many local breweries to try as well as food trucks. La Michoacana has become one of my favorite places for dessert or ice cream. Hanging out places would be Santa Monica pier, Venice Beach, and the whole pacific coast; it’s just beautiful cruising down PCH. You also cannot leave without visiting L.A. Live & catching a Lakers or Dodgers game. Hollywood walk of fame is a must, with lots of stores and sites that are very touristic. Melrose has all the latest fashion and excellent restaurants to sit and catch a bite. Rodeo Drive is another great site to walk around and maybe shop if you got it like that, lol! My go-to shopping for clothing has to be Warehouse #2 located in Valencia; they have a variety of clothing apparel and sell it at a lower price than retail stores. As far as the nightlife, Downtown L.A. and Hollywood have plenty of nightclubs, bars, and lounges. It just depends on what you’re in the mood to do. If you’re in for a thrill, then Disneyland and Magic Mountain are your places. If you need some quiet time and need to be outdoors, there’s plenty of hiking trails I would suggest checking out. They catch the beautiful view and scenery of L.A. and what it’s all about. The sunsets are priceless; the best view is from a local beach, of course. There’s so much to do out here, but that’s just a small taste of what I enjoy and feel like visitors would also enjoy. Keep in mind a lot has changed with the whole Covid-19 crisis, but you have to make the best of it and stay safe. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The biggest shoutout, credit, and recognition besides God go out to my family, including my parents, sister, and dog Milo; lol! Without their help and support, I wouldn’t be able to do or be who I am today. My parents are very old-fashioned and raised us with the good manners and habits that I feel, some of today’s generation has lost what our forefathers taught us. My parents and I are from El Salvador, and we fled to the United States in 1985 when I was 4yrs old, in the middle of the civil war, looking for that American Dream. They both worked very hard, night and day, sometimes with several jobs, to make sure we had the opportunity to take advantage of what this country has to offer. My sister and I are 17yrs apart and their only kids today. I admire and look up to my sister on what she has accomplished so far in life. To think she was almost like my first daughter, as I helped and gave my parents the support they needed when she was a baby. My daughter is 17yrs apart from my sister; what a coincidence, right? Lol! My daughter is almost like the 3rd child my parents always wanted. We are all united and play essential roles that help our family succeed in life. As I’ve gotten older and have become a parent myself, I have learned to appreciate and understand the meaning of life more, all thanks to my parents and family.
Facebook: DJ VIC: https://www.facebook.com/DJVIC818 or Victor M. Calderon