CCHS student Daniella Benitez awarded The President’s Volunteer Service Award (Gold)


Cathedral Catholic High School student Daniella Benitez, 14, was presented with The President’s Volunteer Service Award (Gold) during an assembly May 29 at her former school, Notre Dame Academy, where she was a guest speaker. Daniella was honored for her work in support of the nonprofit organization Build a Miracle.

Daniella’s passion for giving back through Build a Miracle started two years ago when, as a student at Notre Dame Academy, she had gone down to Tijuana, Mexico to help with the building of a house that the school had sponsored. Daniella came back from that experience determined to “do more.” The assembly was being held to announce another Build a Miracle NDA project that her little brother, 7th grader Notre Academy student Gabriel Benitez, was spearheading.

The Build a Miracle founders, Chris and Julianne North, were at the assembly and presented the award to a humble Daniella, who calls Chris and Julianne her “heroes” for having started the organization in 1999, and having built over 330 homes since then. It takes $16,000 to take a family from living in a shack in to living in a fully-furnished home with running water, electricity and plumbing. Both Daniella and her brother Gabriel have committed to heading up at least one “miracle” build a year, by creating teams of 16 kids that raise the $1,000 each to sponsor a home. Daniella just finished her third build; Gabriel finished his second build. They are starting their next projects this summer, with the goal to finish fundraising by the end of December.

For those interested in contributing, please visit Daniella’s GoFundMe page: @buildingwithdani; her brother, Gabriel’s GoFundMe page is @givebackgabe. Visit