Giselle Partida, 14, enjoys sharing aspects of her Mexican heritage with other people, and she loves to learn about cultures different from her own.
Recently, she had a chance to do both.
A violinist in a mariachi band, Giselle played Mexican music for an audience at Oxnard's Lemonwood School. And after she was finished, she watched a group of Filipino dancers perform.
"A lot of people don't know about each other's culture," Giselle said. "I feel kind of honored that I can educate people about Mexican culture by playing in a band like this."
Giselle was one of about 30 musicians, dancers and singers who performed at the school during a holiday celebration organized by the Lemonwood Neighborhood Council.
About 100 adults and children crowded the school's cafeteria over the weekend for the pageant, called "A Multicultural Christmas."
The program included African-Americans performing traditional Nigerian dance, and youngsters performing an Indian dance from Mexico in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
And a group of white residents danced a country-Western two-step.
The residents decided to hold a neighborhood Christmas party as a way to increase ethnic understanding and create a strong sense of community, council President Charles Olson said.
In addition to Mexicans, Filipinos, African-Americans and whites, the Lemonwood area includes Koreans and Japanese residents, Olson said.
"We have a melting-pot neighborhood, and one of our goals is to share with each other our culture and heritage," Olson said. "We want be examples to our children. We want them to witness that regardless of how much ethnic diversity we have, we can build a community that is united and works together."
In lieu of an entry fee for the performance, audience members were required to bring cans of food, which will be distributed to Oxnard organizations that provide help for the homeless, Olson said.