He found love in the gang life, or at least he thought he did, but life changed for Caldera when his best friend was killed in a drive-by shooting. That night Caldera grabbed his gun, hopped in his car and looked for the guy who murdered his friend.
“People started slamming their doors. A mother says ‘get inside,’ started hollering, and I stopped in the middle of the parking lot, and something, probably an angel touched me, and I said ‘what the hell am I doing?’” he said.
Instead of becoming a statistic, Caldera decided to turn his life around. He enlisted in the military, eventually went back to school and earned a master’s degree in social work.
He wanted to do more so he and the former Ghost Town members started a group called Ghost Town Survivors.
“We try to raise money to help some of these families and kids that don’t have the luxury that we have now,” Caldera said. “But they are in need and they are in pain.”
Since 2012, the Ghost Town Survivors have provided scholarships to students and given families on the West Side a Christmas they won’t forget. This year they hosted a curbside Christmas at Good Samaritan Community Center. The Ghost Town Survivors and the Barrio Girls selected 10 families and gave each of them a $300 gift card.
“When we help a family, help a kid, or we have some of these [students] that are going to college, it makes us so happy,” Caldera said.