• University of North Florida student publishes book about overcoming abuse, homelessness

    By: Christy Turner , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    Christina Meredith is an author, University of North Florida student, active military member and former Miss California.

    But there’s more to her story.

    Growing up in Northeast Florida, Meredith said she was singled out by her controlling mother and endured years of physical and psychological abuse.

    She said she was also sexually abused by her uncle for nearly four years.

    At the age of 16, she entered the foster care system and was separated from her siblings.

    After aging out of the foster care system, Meredith was homeless and lived in her car, using public beach showers and working three jobs to survive.

    “I think that’s given me the backbone that I have today, experiencing the suffering,” Meredith said.

    Meredith eventually moved to California, where she was crowned Miss California in 2013. She used her platform to create a foundation and be a voice for vulnerable children.

    Meredith said the social services that are supposed to protect children failed her.

    “We should have been put in care when I was 9, but the system kind of didn’t pick us up until later which was unfortunate, because all the damage had been done by then,” Meredith said.

    Meredith recently published her memoir, “CinderGirl,” which will be turned into a movie. She said she chose the title because she felt like Cinderella her entire life.

    Through her struggles, Meredith said she found her mission to push for foster care reform.

    Meredith currently serves in the United States Army while finishing her dual major in Political Science and International Affairs at UNF. She graduates in the fall and wants to use her degree to run for office and reform the foster care system.


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