“La Copa Chavez” celebration at La Luz Center
La Luz Center, a modest pair of buildings over on Greger Street in Boyes Hot Springs is the venue for Friday health and food services, English classes, counseling and referrals to assist and empower low income residents. But Sunday, March 27, La Luz was jam-packed and in full party mode.
A full crowd of well over 200 celebrants came to honor the "Copa César Chavez" soccer players and the first graduates of La Luz's "TU CORAZON, TU VIDA" healthy cooking class.
Teams of young, fit players and their young families feasted on delicious rice beans and green salad prepared by the cooking class, and a chicken barbecue prepared by "Brown Baggers" Elizabeth Kemp and Sharon Delaney, both La Luz board members. The food disappeared in a flash, as the crowd was easily double in numbers expected, according to organizer Mario Castillo.
After the meal the brightly decorated tables were whisked away to make room for party-goers enjoying the music of "Los Diferentes del Ritmo" directed by Laretta Carr, a five piece band playing tropical music on the stage. Ballet foclórico dancers "Quetzalem" in full costume then delighted the crowd with their typical dances and music of Jalisco, Michoacan & Nayarit.
At the awards ceremony all the soccer players were recognized for their participation with medals, and trophies were awarded for first and second place. Enrique Vineyard Management, first place champions, received their large trophy from Vineyard Workers' much loved longtime supporter Elizabeth Kemp, while St Francis Vineyard management was awarded second place; Enterprise Vineyard came in third and Carneros Management was in fourth place.
The Enrique team, all young men from small villages in the Michoacan, Mexico area have been playing together for 8 years. While they have often made the finals in their league, this is their first trophy.
"Today we come together to celebrate the life & the legacy of the great leader César Chavez," said La Luz organizer Mario Castillo. "Today we also celebrate the first ever César Chavez Soccer cup & the labors of the many vineyard workers who contribute so much to the economy of our community. We can only award first place to one team but we are all winners because we are all here celebrating our common heritage together."
Recent graduates of the nutrition program Tu Corazón, Tu Vida ("Your Heart, Your Life") were recognized, upcoming classes were announced, and plans are already being made for next year's tournament and party-next time with abundant food.
La Luz's mission is to empower our community through education, leadership, and self-advocacy.
Visit their new website at laluzcenter.org.