Cristina Powell is an artist and a volunteer with A Brighter Way, a nonprofit named after one of her paintings. Powell was born in Peru and was immediately adopted. When she was 15 months old, she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and wasn’t expected to walk or talk—although she went on to defy these odds.
Encouraging words form her 6th grade teacher about one of her paintings inspired Powell to focus on making art. When she discovered that her pictures of flowers and bright, primary colors made people feel good, she started to reach out to people through hospital visits and through her paintings. Powell said, “My mom and I like to say…our lives are like a garden…always changing and challenging, but full of color, love, and happiness.”