Christina Delgado loved the idea of giving back to her community, so in 2011 she found herself an outlet to do just that — volunteer work.
To date, the 14-year-old from Miami Lakes has ranked up 500-plus service hours, and in September she received the national President’s Volunteer Service Award, designed to recognize those who are committed to community service.
“If there is anything I want to be recognized, for it’s definitely volunteering,” Christina said, an eighth-grader at Miami Lakes K-8 Center.
Last month, the Miami Lakes Council honored Christina’s achievements at a meeting by presenting her with a certificate of excellence.
“We are very proud of Christina’s dedication and passion for service,” Mayor Wayne Slaton said in an email. “She is a great example for other young students who are looking to get involved and give back to their local community.”
Christina primarily volunteers as the vice-chair of the town’s youth activities task force.
“She’s incredibly energetic,” said Alec Anderez, a member of the youth activities task force. “She’s always enthusiastic and very involved.”
Christina is a staple at functions, such as movies in the park, or various holiday celebrations and encourages others to volunteer with her.
“She an amazing person,” said Anjali Gonzalez, 14, one of Christina’s best friends who has volunteered with her in the past. “Everything she does, she puts her heart into it.”
When Christina won the President’s Volunteer Service Award, Anjali was one of the first people she told. Both girls were surprised by the recognition, as neither knew Christina was up for it.
Christina mother, Leticia Delgado, had spearheaded the effort to get Christina recognized and never told her daughter.
“I didn’t want any disappointment,” Delgado recalls. “I said, ‘We’ll put in for it, and if it happens it happens, if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.’”
Christina received the award as she sat in her first-period language arts class. A school official walked in and handed her an envelope.
“It such a surreal thing,” Christina said. “I just see the White House seal on top and the president’s signature and I was like ‘This is legit, this is actually happening, this is legitimate, this isn’t like me getting punk’d over anything.’ And I was so in shock.”
She texted her mom to tell her the good news.
“Of course I cried,” said Delgado, who then informed the family about the accomplishment.
Christina says she views her recent recognitions as motivation to continue her efforts to give back to her community.
“I just think it’s important to think about others before you think about yourself,” she said. “[Volunteering] is something I automatically enjoyed because I like helping and I like giving back.”