Find out what keeps Daniella Benitez motivated
DANIELLA BENITEZ: Being able to actually go and help people, it's part of what makes me want to keep going. It's the fact that I know that I'm not just going and watching and seeing people suffer, but I'm actually able to do something about it.
When I was in seventh grade, my school introduced Build A Miracle to us. It is a nonprofit that builds homes for families in Mexico. And I mean, 12-year-old me, of course, went home told my parents I want to donate but it didn't go any further than that. My mom then told us know we're going to actually go and build the house physically with the family and go to Mexico for the day. And I just selfishly didn't want to go.
But as moms do, she dragged me over there. And honestly, the second we got there, just the energy felt so good. And being with the family and watching them talk about their lives and then getting to watch them walk into their home, that whole experience kind of just opened my eyes and made me realize that there's so much going on outside my bubble that I didn't realize and so many people that don't get the same opportunities and blessings that I have gotten through my life. And I decided that I want to start helping more people. And so then I went home and I told my mom, I want to raise money for my own home with Build A Miracle.
And it was at the time $16,000. And she said, OK, Daniella, sure. And then I took her phone because I don't have a phone yet. I texted 16 of our closest family and friend asked if they'd be willing to donate $1,000 each so that we can put it together and build a house. And then by the end of that summer, I had all the money. And we were able to build that house, and that's where it started.
Now that my eyes have kind of been opened to what else happens in the world, I have this just, I don't know, like a spark inside of me that craves like doing more for not only that community, but for as I get older and as I get educated and am able to do more. I feel like to make a big, big change I feel like specifically with the issue of poverty, I'm just extremely passionate about it now. And I also just think that my definition of what makes life meaningful and what makes life worth it has shifted a lot because it's kind of made me less selfish and made me think more like there's more to life. And honestly, what makes me feel fulfilled in life is helping other people.
Every time we get another family, it's no different than the last. Like they become a part of my family. And I love getting to watch them grow. And you know, I have some of them on social media, so I'll get to watch them graduate middle school or have a little birthday party and it's so-- it just makes me smile that they're keeping up with everything in their lives. My role models are obviously Chris and Julianne, they're the founders of Build A Miracle and I look up to them as leaders. And I hope that the same way they've impacted my life that I can impact other people too and inspire them to create change.