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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Cristina Cruz

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Cristina Cruz

Growing up, Cristina faced bullying but decided to ignore the haters and let her true self shine! Along the way, she developed a passion for criminal justice and fitness. Meet Warrior Woman Wednesday, Cristina Cruz!

My first impression of Cristina (Crizzy) was made in a high school choir room. She was shy and maintained a timid composure. However, as soon as she sung— she was a completely different person! There was confidence and her voice was beyond beautiful. Everyone in the room stood in awe of her voice. In later years would Crizzy apply that same confidence towards her entire life to be the beautiful and beaming woman she is today.

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Cristina Cruz

“I was the super nerd growing up honestly. I was always reading, had the glasses, was a chubby kid, really shy and reserved,” Crizzy said. “I got teased a lot for it all.”

13-year-old Crizzy began to pull out of her shyness when she joined the Marana Police Explorers. The uniform, volunteering and the police training quickly captured her heart. Her inspiration to join the program came from her biggest hero, her grandfather. He was a U.S. Air Force veteran and worked as a police officer for Southern Pacific Railroad.

“I always wanted to be just like him; he passed away when I was eight but the values he instilled in me remain to this day,” Crizzy paused. “I still consider him my hero.”

While the Marana Police Explorer program confirmed Crizzy’s interest in criminal justice, her grandfather is the reason why she sought out the dream to study Criminal Justice Administration.

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Cristina Cruz

Crizzy’s boldness and compassion grew when she lost her friend. It made her realize she should always tell people how she feels about them and to live each day like it was her last.

“I stopped hiding myself and just let myself shine and it really surprised me how well I just clicked with people,” Crizzy said.

She began volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters, kept in touch with the police department and started volunteering through work.

Soon college began and Crizzy almost finished her degree. Her tuition was covered by scholarships, and to pay for books she continued working with Trico Electric Cooperative, a job she held since she was 16 years old.

Crizzy placed her dreams of criminal justice on hold when her family started going through rough times. She stepped up to help and took a job an Electrical Dispatcher/System Controller at Trico. The training certification took precedent over her criminal justice degree. Her family means the most.

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Cristina Cruz

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Cristina Cruz

The three years of training and her most recent certification provided security for her family. Along the way, Trico also became a family to Crizzy.

“Trico had been one of the blessings in my life, great people and amazing atmosphere. They allow me to continue to help not only my own friends and family, but also contribute to the community through the volunteer work they do,” Crizzy said.

Between the hustle, Crizzy found a passion for working out at age of 23. She took kickboxing and met a welcoming group of empowering women. Most recently, she branched out to take Jiu Jitsu classes and is hooked! Her passion helped her lose 40+ pounds.

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Cristina Cruz

“I'm in the gym every day and if I miss a day I try to incorporate a run or dancing or something athletic to keep me going,” Crizzy said. “They offer a form of therapy, I'd never had before.”

Crizzy said her life has also changed since her involvement with church; she started going after being invited by a friend. The two now share long, Bible discussions together. Crizzy feels blessed for the people she’s met through the church.

“I'm surrounded by incredible people, people that make me laugh, inspire me, who have my back like I've never had in the past,” Crizzy said. “They make me wanna be a better person and I'm happy.”

Now 27 years old, life is only heading up for Crizzy. She is finally finishing her degree in criminal justice, and the journey taught her a lot. Crizzy's confidence grew through the ups and downs and only built her into a stronger individual.

“To have gone from such a shy little girl to the woman I am now, and have people look up to me is mind blowing,” Crizzy smiled. “I'm so thankful for that.”

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Cristina Cruz

Q&A with Cristina Cruz
1. What motivates you to succeed?
My father motivates me to succeed. He's my biggest supported. He's always told me there's nothing I can't do. Every day he asks me what my plans are and what I'm gonna do to make my day count. He never lets me give up. Seeing how he supported my family growing up, the long hours at work, the stuff he sacrificed, it all pushes me to be the best woman I can be. I want to make him proud. 

2. Who inspires you? 
I'm fortunate to have a few women in my life that inspire me:
  • First my closest girl friend Sarah Cioffi. She's an unstoppable force. The girl sets a goal and goes for it and she doesn't stop till she gets it. She up and moved to LA, went to fashion school, work's for an incredible company. She's firm in her beliefs, stands up for others, she's so creative and artistic, brave and educated.
  • 2nd would be my friend Sylvia Hoover. The woman is a badass. She has this fire about her that just puts me in awe. I met her through kickboxing, she was one of the instructors. I've seen her go above and beyond for her family and her friends. She's funny, smart, resilient, and doesn't let anything get her down. Anytime she faces a problem she just takes it down. There's nothing she can't do.
  • 3rd would be you, Natalie. I've seen you do some incredible things with your life. Every day is inspiring. You travel, are active, you work with so many amazing organizations. You're one of the kindest people I know, so smart, focused. You have this way of making the people you surround yourself with feel like they are the most important person in the world. I always feel so special when I get to talk with you. You just radiate happiness and love and I wanna be like that.
3. Your biggest achievement?
I'd have to say my biggest achievement is the fact that I'm happy. I've been fortunate in my life, even through the tough times to have been able to help my family, my friends, to  develop a strong support system. I've been dealt some hard hands growing up, I was homeless, we'd been down and out, I've had my heart broken, I've taken care of my family, I had to grow up fast, I've had some not so genuine people in my life, but I overcame them. I'm still here, still standing, still thriving. I'm happy and that's what matters.

4. Goals for the future?
I definitely want to continue working towards my Criminal Justice Degree. As well as complete my new work certification. I want to continue in kickboxing and learn jiu Jitsu. Maybe eventually entering a tournament. I want to learn! I want to travel, I want to inspire people! If By the time I pass someday, at least 1 persons life was better because of me then I'll be content to leave this earth. 

5. What advice do you give to others?
You are stronger than you think. Don't ever give up because you think it's too hard or someone tells you what you want is dumb. Don't let other people's opinion dictate what you do with your life. Be yourself. Don't be afraid to stand out in the crowd. Life's too short to not do what you wanna do. 

6. What do you do for fun?
I'm very active these days. I love the gym so I'm there all the time. Other than that I'm hugely into music. I love to sing and record music and dance. You can almost always find me singing or learning a new line dance. I'm big into reading  as well. I always have at least one book with me. Im also a big comic nerd so I like to check out comicons and I cosplay. Batman is my favorite superhero and everyone knows it. I'm always wearing something Batman at any given time. 

7.  Favorite quote or bible verse?
  • Favorite quote: "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that others won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberated others." - Marianne Williamson
  • Favorite Bible Verse:"Be sting and courageous. Do not be afraid; Do not be discouraged, For the Lord you God will be with you wherever you go." -Joshua 1:9

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