Eileen Celestina Garcia’s vision is that everyone lives the life of their dreams filled with freedom, connection, and empowerment. These characteristics and values fuel Celestina’s passion and guide her life’s work. Her motto is ‘Dream and Be Big’.
Celestina is a graduate of the University of New Mexico where she focused on supporting Latino students to enter and graduate college, mentored middle and high schools students, managed/developed a youth leadership program, completed 2 months of Bio-medical research in Nigeria, studied holistic medicine as a McNair Scholar, developed the fluency to speak, read, and write Spanish as a student of the Tech de Monterrey and Guanajuato, and gained a love for teaching. Celestina is a recipient of the Raza Junta Student Excellence Award and the UNM Alumni Citizenship Award.
With a commitment to expand her knowledge and develop a broad, holistic understanding of societal frameworks Celestina taught six-grade math, science, literature, and history over three years in La Puente, California. During this time she obtained a Master in Education from Claremont Graduate University. She then worked for the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation implementing Service-learning projects in 12 East, South and Central Los Angeles Schools. Celestina also attended the World Social Forum in India, taught conversational English in China, and attended an Educational Exchange in Cuba. A piece of her educational journey was captured in Professor Gilda Ochoa’s book ‘Learning from Latino Teachers’.
An advocate of life-long learning, Celestina returned to New Mexico with a goal to create a center for leadership and international education. She worked in supporting the start-up of New Mexico’s Forum Public Allies Program and built connections for Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails within the Latino community. In 2008 she began what today has grown to be an annual 100 mile pilgrimage, the World Peace & Abundance Walk. In July of 2010 Celestina founded and served as Director for the Community Leadership Foundation (CLF), a 501(c)3 non-profit committed to the growth and development of individuals and organizations, global partnerships and community empowerment.
In 2012 Celestina was inspired to begin the Echando Flores (Giving Appreciation) program as a member of the National Hispana Leadership Institute: Executive Leaders cohort. The program hosts women who are ready to dive deep into learning about themselves, their passion, and build strong relationships to lift one another up. She has coached hundreds of people over the past eleven years to identify their goals and create them. Moving into a new role as Executive Director for CLF in 2016 she has developed and facilitated the new one-year youth program SHIFT and in July 2017 will begin to facilitate the adult leadership program
Celestina is a member of many local organizations and supports families to develop financial road maps/plans currently with Farmers Insurance . For fun she runs marathons, plays tennis and golf, paints and spends time with her six year old son Leoncio.