Notre Dame Academy student sends $10K worth of clothing to Tijuana

Eighth-grader Gabriel Benitez, from Carmel Valley, provided $10,000 of clothing to children in Tijuana.

Notre Dame Academy eighth-grader Gabriel Benitez provided $10,000 worth of new clothing to low-income children in Tijuana Dec. 14, through a partnership with children’s clothing company Kidbox.

“I really like being able to make a change in someone’s life,” said Gabriel, 13.

He was selected for Kidbox’s board of directors, which provided the money for the clothing. Founded in 2016, each year the company selects a group of children involved in entrepreneurial or charitable work with a focus on social good. It provides resources to help them advance their work.

The opportunity for Gabriel to be a part of this year’s board stemmed from his work with the San Diego-based nonprofit Build a Miracle, which raises money to build houses for families in Mexico.

Gabriel and his older sister Daniella, a Cathedral Catholic High School student, have provided funding for nine homes through Build a Miracle. Each costs approximately $16,000. He started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for another one, and has collected more than $10,000 so far. He has raised money in the past with initiatives such as selling red noses to raise awareness for the work Build a Miracle does.

Daniella was selected for the Kidbox board of directors in a previous year, after getting involved with Build a Miracle and starting a Build a Miracle Club at her school.

“She was really moved to start doing it,” said Gabriel, who was inspired by his sister to get involved as well.

He traveled to New York with the other nine children selected for the Kidbox board of directors.

Build a Miracle Homes are constructed by volunteers, with amenities including running water and electricity. Families complete 500 hours of community service in exchange for moving into one. Gabriel and his family travel to Tijuana about 10 times per year to volunteer for the nonprofit.

“When the family comes in and they start crying tears of joy, it’s so moving to see that,” Gabriel said.

For more information about Gabriel’s fundraising for Build a Miracle, visit