San Diego teen raises money to build home for Tijuana family - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego teen raises money to build home for Tijuana family

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – A North County girl is an inspiration in two countries after she was moved to help a needy family across the border in Mexico.

Daniella Benitez, who is 13-years-old, raised $16,000 all on her own to help build a new home for a family.

“It was so special to see their reaction from going from nothing to this beautiful home with a kitchen, water and it was very special,” said Benitez.

Last year, Benitez’s Carmel Valley private school, Notre Dame Academy, partnered with the non-profit Build a Miracle (BAM).

Their goal was to raise $16,000 to build one home for a family who lived in a shack with no running water and a leaky roof.

When she returned from Tijuana, Benitez told her mother she wanted to help build more homes.

“It’s okay for me to take up some time in my summer because some people have it a lot worse than me,” she said.

All on her own, with no help from mom and dad, the eighth grader reached out to friends, started a GoFundMe, held bake sales and lemonade stands and babysat to raise the money.

Six months later, she met with BAM’s co-founder, Julianne North.

“We get there and she is holding in her hands $16,000 in checks and I started crying. That a young girl would have the incentive to do it, confidence to do it and would follow through it – was truly amazing,” she said.

Last February, Daniella recruited friends and family and helped BAM build another home – pouring the concrete and welcoming the family into their first stable home.

“It even made me cray and I don’t usually cry. It was special,” she said.

Daniella Benitez also said she does not plan to stop building more hope. “I hope to keep building every year and maybe build two houses in a year. I know we can keep going with it.”

Build a Miracle said that since 1999, it has built 319 homes and 27 kids have gone to college.

To learn more about the non-profit and Daniella’s continued efforts to build more homes in Mexico, visit: http://buildamiracle.net/.

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