A Los Angeles girl diagnosed with autism has been selected to light up the tree at the 86th annual Capitol Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 7, officials announced Monday.
Sofia Garcia, a second-grader at El Cerritos Elementary School, was chosen to help Gov. Jerry Brown and first lady Anne Gust Brown light up a 65-foot-tall white fir at the event in Sacramento.
The 7-year-old represents more than 300,000 people with disabilities who receive support from state and nonprofit developmental centers, a statement from the Department of Developmental Services said.
Garcia was diagnosed with autism when she was 2 years old, according to the department. When she’s not in school, she participates in a children’s pageant program and loves to draw, paint and play make-believe games.
The California Army National Guard’s 40th Infantry Division band, students from the Oakland Military Institute and Oakland School for the Arts, Mariachi Puente and St. Paul’s Baptist Church Choir are scheduled to perform at the ceremony.