This upbeat family has turned an unfortunate situation into their biggest blessing.
Had Abe Mills never lost his job, there probably would never be a Sunshine Mafia — a family band made up of his six kids, his wife, Rachel, and him.
Although the parents may not hold down regular 9-to-5 jobs, Sunshine Mafia — Jackson, 15, Tyson, 13, Jordan 11, Mariah 9, Julianna 6 and Jayden 4 — take no days off.
Hardest working family in show business
They star in commercials for Sea World, Universal Studios, Orlando Health, NASCAR, Nickelodeon and more. Abe had a short cameo in a NASCAR commercial during the Super Bowl.
They publish daily video blogs to their YouTube channel titled “Sunshine Mafia.” Every day of the week holds a special theme (Miracle Mondays, MTV Tuesdays, Workout Wednesdays, etc.).
By the time the kids get to bed, Abe and Rachel usually get no arguments. They will have played, completed all of their school work (home schoolers), sang for a few hours, competed in their many extracurricular activities, practiced with their instruments and made each other smile.
Once the kids are sound asleep, Abe hops in the sack while Rachel goes to work editing the video. She wakes up Abe in the wee hours of the morning, so he can add in the music to their videos. Then, their daily work goes onto YouTube and their Facebook page to be viewed by hundreds of faithful subscribers — some in other countries.
“I wouldn’t be so driven to spend hours and hours editing videos,” Rachel said, “if he hadn’t lost his job and if I hadn’t seen the vision of what we can be as a family.”
A blessing in disguise
Abe worked as a leadership consultant for several years. But, before that job and several others, he attended Brigham Young University — where he met Rachel — and sang in a Christian boy group called Jericho Road that has toured the country and other parts of the world. He would take his family along to sing and speak at some of his band’s concerts. But the family hadn’t yet become a collective band.
So, when Abe lost his job in April of last year, Rachel saw an opening for an opportunity she longed for.
“We were forced to do something,” Rachel said, “and I was praying all along that we could do something as a family.”
This is when the family chose to band together. They hired an agent who began to book them for
commercials and other activities.
Playing in unlikely places
Ever since the family decided to become a band, everyone from Anthony Wilds of Kids Rock the Nation to video store managers (who remembered how Jericho Road helped him get through a tough time in his life) has freely provided them with equipment to pursue their dreams.
Sunshine Mafia has competed in and won three of four talent shows. The band has entertained schools, private parties, fundraisers and customers at the Beaver Bar and Lagerheads Bar and Grill in Ormond; they always get a kick out of the responses from the bikers in leather who often shed tears from their performances.
“The feeling you get when you share a message of positivity is hard to duplicate,” Abe said. “That’s why we love to do what we do.”
That’s why they call themselves the Sunshine Mafia.
To watch some of their daily vlogs, click here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvk5HpiixSKDCVw5HEjoL_A/feed