Disabled teen turns loss into love

Student helps families bury their loved ones

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -  

North High senior Miranda Garcia is like most teen girls, she loves music and shopping.

"I love clothes and shoes," said Garcia.

She says her family's thrift store, Dominic's Stairway to Heaven on Niles St. is like one big closet to her. The Garcia family opened the store in April. It's named after Miranda's 19-year-old brother Dominic, who passed away two years ago.

Garcia was born with Cerebral Palsy and needs a wheelchair to get around, but that doesn't keep her down. She spends every day after school working at the store.

Garcia is also working with Business Builders which is a local nonprofit that helps people with developmental disabilities start their own ventures.

Garcia decided to use her own experience of losing her brother to form her own nonprofit that will help other families who lose a child pay for burial costs and other services.

"We don't want people to go through what we went through, it was really hard," said Garcia. "We want to help people in the community."

A wall in the store has been transformed into a memorial wall. That's where Garcia said pictures of the people whose family they've helped will hang.

"My brother would be proud of me," said Garcia. "I've always wanted to help people because that's who I am."

Others are helping now too. Valley Bible Fellowship heard about Garcia’s efforts and is teaming up with the store to hold a coat drive Saturday.

"We feel blessed that we're going to be able to team up with them and bring exposure to their thrift store that's bringing help to a lot of people," said member of Valley Bible Louis Booth.

The coat drive will be held Saturday, January 26th at Dominic's Stairway to Heaven located at 904 Niles St. from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Coats and sweaters will be handed out to the community. The store will also be accepting donations.

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