The Cristina Brouder Story
When Christina Brouder was five years old, a drunk driver ran over her as she and her father were crossing the street in front of their home.
Mangled, the young girl was forced to spend a long time in a full-body cast to recover from her injuries. Mostly she traveled between the hospital and her home. Once out of the cast, Brouder was wheelchair-bound for close to a year.
In spite of the horrific accident, Christine was grateful for her recovery.
She was so grateful, in fact, that she and her four multi-talented siblings (three sisters and a brother) launched a music group, Gilbride.
The Woodlawn-based group performed at local hospitals, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes, performing for the patients.
Among them, the children could sing, dance and play about 20 different musical instruments.
At their first show in 1988, held at Montefiore Hospital, the kids were 2, 3, 6, 8 and 9 years old. That year alone, the group made over a hundred appearances.
From the local arena, the group expanded to charity performances for the March of Dimes, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Pediatric Aids Foundation, and the Kiwanis. They also entertained at Disney World, Radio City Music Hall, The Plaza, and even the White House. Through another good deed, the group was signed to a contract by Universal Records in Germany.
They made an album, two videos and recorded the title track for the European version of The Little Vampire.
Christina balanced her flourishing musical career with academics, first graduating from New York City's High School of Music and Art, and then from Fordham. In 2000, as the youngest graduate from Fordham, 18-year-old Christina and her siblings went on tour for a year. Not content with the acclaim she received from the spotlight, upon her return she entered Pace University Law School. Why?
Her experiences as a six-year-old testifying in front of a Bronx County Grand Jury about her accident convinced her to champion the rights of the handicapped.
It was part of Christina's plan to "give back."
On May 19, Christina Brouder realized part of her dream when, at only 22, she graduated from Pace Law's Juris Doctorate Program and received her Health Law Certificate.
In her "spare time," the dynamo trained as a chef at the French Culinary Institute in New York City. This summer, Brouder is studying for the bar and already has a job prospect.