Cristina Garcia, was born in Tampa, FL to two parents, who instilled in her the importance of volunteering from the beginning. Cristina is a 18 year old, freshman at the University of South Florida, who is pursuing a degree in Pediatrics Physical Therapy. She graduated from King High School with honors in May 2006. Cristina’s older brother, Joey has Cerebral Palsy.
Cristina is dedicated to Sibshops, a program at Achieve Tampa Bay. Sibshops is a Sibling Support Project that is the only national effort dedicated to the interests of over six million brothers and sisters of people with special health, mental health, and developmental needs. This program is offered through Achieve Tampa Bay, an organization that is an affiliate of United Cerebral Palsy. Achieve Tampa Bay is dedicated to turning disabilities into capabilities. It has been in the Tampa area for 53 years and is where Cristina attended preschool. She grew up to become their top volunteer through the years. Though she is a youth, Christina is very active in this support group for brothers and sisters of children with disabilities.
Cristina has been with Sibshops since she was nine years old. She is one of the original members of the Tampa chapter and now serves as the Assistant Director. Once a month, faithfully, on Saturday, Cristina lends her expertise and knowledge to the siblings. Because she is living this, many of those that come to Sibshops for direction can easily relate to her. They know her care and concern is genuine and heart felt. She is helpful to the siblings with her experience and knowledge as well as to the parents about what not to do and how to handle situations that may arise. She also speaks to the community about siblings of children with disabilities.
In addition, Cristina is a great role model by being a straight "A" student who is very involved with kids with special needs. For the past 4 years, she has worked for “ALL PEOPLES” an after school program through Hillsborough County for children with disabilities and non-disabled children.
Cristina supports the siblings by calling attention to their role as a sibling of a child with disabilities. She celebrates their strength and ensures they understand the important role, they, as siblings play in the family. Christina’s dedication to Sibshops, Achieve Tampa Bay and her family is a great example of a servant leader.