When Joe Cristina decided to dedicate his talents to God, he had no idea where it would take him. It ended up leading him to KidWorks, a non-profit organization located here in Orange County. Through academic enrichment, tutoring, fitness, and leadership development; KidWorks serves over 800 children. Their approach is grounded in the confidence that by simply changing a single life, you can impact an entire family.
Joe Cristina has been a professional musician for over 35 years, working on film sets and with prominent artists, but one thing he always felt uncomfortable with was the self-promotion and competition within the industry. What he craved was God. “I never feel God’s presence more than when I’m doing music,” Joe says. “Working here at St. Andrew’s, I was connected to Ava who was the director of KidWorks at the time. She gave me an opportunity that changed my life. People say that a lot but this actually did.” In 2012, Joe partnered with KidWorks to create the Avanti music program, giving children private instruction and access to music they may not otherwise have. This equips and propels them into future careers in music and music theory. For Joe, he receives as much as he invests. “I actually used to suffer from depression from time to time. After I started working with these kids, my wife pointed out to me that I no longer go through those periods. I think it’s because of these kinds and the music. I grew up in a Hispanic neighborhood in New York City, so when I’m working with them, I kind of feel like I’m going back home.”
When we use our gifts to invest in others, we are blessed in return. For Joe, his enthusiasm to share God’s love led to an impactful ministry that has changed more lives than just his own.
For info on KidWorks/Avanti and our other ministry partnerships, please visit www.sapres.org/extendingthefamily. To read more stories like this, Click Here to check out the latest issue of Table magazine!