Celebrating Charter’s Heroes: Mr. Garcia & the Kevin Garcia Foundation


Photo by Tyler Hilliar

Iris Lee, Staff Writer

   In the words of Maya Angelou, “A hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.” 

   During December of 2009, Mr. Brian Garcia would receive news that would forever change the course of his life. After the tragic passing of his brother, Kevin Garcia, the holiday season that was supposed to be brimming with festive cheer was instead filled with the sense of loss. However, Mr. Garcia and his close friends and family decided to take matters into their own hands, and construct something special to honor his memory. 

   It all started when they decided to collect toys instead of typical flowers in Kevin’s wake. “The Kevin Garcia Foundation was created by my family in honor of my youngest brother Kevin, to celebrate his life and to continue to inspire others just as he did, through loving acts of kindness. Kevin Tragically passed away during the holidays, and our family and friends worked together to hold a toy drive at his wake. It provided many children at Joe DiMaggio children’s hospital with toys to open on Christmas morning. From there we decided to begin the foundation,” says Mr. Garcia.

   Originally, the Kevin Garcia Foundation began as an annual toy drive providing holiday gifts for children overcoming barriers. However, over the years, the foundation’s projects have expanded to include multiple holiday projects for all families in need. According to Mr. Garcia, “Our projects have traditionally been our annual toy drive in December, collecting canned foods for families in need during Thanksgiving, and hosting an Easter luncheon at JoeDimaggio for patients and staff.” Additionally, the Kevin Garcia Foundation initially implemented a scholarship program for Kevin’s graduating class of 2009 at Charles Flanagan High School. Over time, the scholarship program has spread to include seniors at various high schools throughout Dade and Broward counties, accumulating over $60,000 gifted.

   Although the Kevin Garcia Foundation has already impacted the lives of many children and teenagers, Mr. Garcia reveals that their goals aren’t stopping anytime soon. “The main goals of the foundation are to help children and teenagers overcome economic barriers. For now, we seek to impact our community locally, however, it would be great if we could become a familiar name at least in the South Florida area.”

   What is a hero? “A hero is someone who helps others face difficulties with their heads held high, and isn’t afraid to sacrifice their time for others’ happiness,” says one of Mr. Garcia’s students, sophomore Natalie Tsung. “Mr. Garcia always takes notice of the needs of his students, and goes out of his way to meet our needs. One time, he even arranged individual meetings with his students so we could fully comprehend his class. Knowing that he has a foundation to help kids overcome barriers, as well as being a father himself, I think what he does is incredible.” As one of Charter’s heroes, Mr. Garcia’s students are unanimous in agreement when it comes to his effort and dedication. “My experience with the Foundation has given me the opportunity to share the story of my brother and who he was. Knowing Kevin, this is what he was always about and what made him special. He got a lot of joy from helping others, and I’m glad I can continue his legacy,” he says.