Dina Garcia started working as a Systems Change Advocate at CALIF in December, 2011. Her passion lies not only in advocacy, but acting as well.
Dina’s role as an actress began at the age of three, when she was chosen to be the poster child for United Cerebral Palsy. Over the next decade, she appeared on the annual UCP telethon, joined many stars and donors at cocktail parties and photo shoots, and launched her acting career, appearing on a CBS Movie of the Week, Marion Rose White, with Nancy Cartwright, now the voice of Bart Simpson, and Katherine Ross. Dina was also in the prime time soap opera, Knots Landing, with Lisa Hartman.
As Dina got older, her role changed from actress to advocate when she encountered discrimination in junior and senior high school due to her disability. She had to fight just for the right to do her homework on a typewriter, a necessity because using her hand to write was difficult. She even had to fight for the right to go to her neighborhood high school, a move discouraged by some faculty members. She wound up graduating with honors.
Dina’s advocacy skills continued at Cal State University Northridge where she was president of the Students with Disabilities Connection. She transformed that basically inactive organization into a vibrant and progressive social group. Upon her graduation in 2000, there were 40 active members.
In keeping with her love for advocacy, Dina got a full-time job at the Westside Center for Independent Living as a System Change Advocate. She also served for two years on the Los Angeles City Commission on Disabilities under Mayor James Hahn. As commissioner, Dina worked to install an audio signal on a busy street to ensure the safety of visually-impaired pedestrians.
After taking a six-year break from working, in order to be a stay-at-home mom to her son, Dina has now picked up where she left off as a Systems Change Advocate at CALIF. She is very happy working with another passionate advocate, Cynde. Together, they are trying to change the system in order to accommodate the needs of those with disabilities. Currently, her position at CALIF is Systems Change Advocate—Housing since March 2018.
Dina went back to her passion for acting in December 2010 when she was cast in “Luck”, an HBO drama starring Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte. Dina was in four episodes of the show that premiered in January 2012.
She and her husband Daniel own a house in Chatsworth where they live with their son, Brandon. In her spare time, Dina enjoys snow skiing, water skiing, jet skiing, para-sailing, wheelchair dancing, traveling and, of course, spending time with her family and friends.