A University of North Florida student is sharing the story of her difficult childhood in a new book and upcoming feature film.
From a background of abuse and neglect, Christina Meredith eventually became an activist for children in the foster care system and was crowned Miss California before moving to Jacksonville.
Meredith, an author, University of North Florida student and active military member, outlines her life of abuse and neglect and how she used her pain as a stepping stone for success.
At the age of 16, she entered the foster care system after experiencing years of mental, physical and sexual abuse. She was separated from her siblings and after aging out of the foster care system, Meredith was homeless.
On Wednesday morning's First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross, Meredith talked about her new book and how her pain has ultimately made her into who she is today.
“I see the purpose in pain, and I’m glad that I can turn something so painful and horrible into something so good,” Meredith said.
In Duval and Nassau counties there are approximately 1,500 children living in out-of-home care situations due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
Through her experiences in the foster care, Meredith said she found her mission to push for foster care reform.
The non-profit Christina Meredith Foundation focuses on advocacy for foster care reform and on ensuring that youth who have experienced abuse or are in the foster-care system receive education, quality healthcare, and advocacy.
Her goal is to raise these children up to become resilient and allow them to flourish into independent adults despite where they came from.
Samantha Kindler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 904-358-6317 or on Twitter at @kindlersamantha.