Daniela Camacho grew up between Venezuela and Washington State. During the school year, she attended Venezuelan schools and during the summers, she and her family lived in Washington with her mother’s family. Daniela was a voracious reader and writer, composing short stories about many different topics. “Some of them were actually kind of weird,” she says. She was on the swim team all throughout high school. Academically, she was primarily interested in humanities and social sciences. Her favorite subject was history.
Later in her life, her family moved to Montreal, and Daniela decided to attend school at Concordia University where she studied political science and liberal arts. After graduating, she looked for jobs in the area but wasn’t finding the roles she wanted due to the language barrier – she speaks French conversationally, but didn’t feel she was fluent enough to get her dream job.
She had always wanted to help other people, having seen much suffering in Venezuela due to poverty, racism, and other systemic issues. She was given the nickname “the public defender” by a fourth grade teacher because she was constantly standing up for her classmates and calling out behaviors she didn’t think were right. These experiences led her to have an interest in law. She was drawn to the idea of finding an institutional way to make an impact, having seen how broad scale injustice negatively affects individual people.
After working for a few years, Daniela attended Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, where her concentration was in International Law and Human Rights. As part of her coursework, she had an internship at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Netherlands, where she lived for three months. She thought her biggest impact would be by starting at the top, creating big changes in law on an international level. But her experiences there grew frustrating. The court could not do much to directly support the survivors of horrific national crimes. It shifted her entire view of the law and she vowed to work to change things from the bottom up by working directly with clients. She graduated from law school in 2015 and then obtained a position at a legal aid organization. She now sees herself staying in legal aid for the rest of her career.
Daniela is very close with her family. She has an older sister who lives in Florida and her parents and younger brother currently live in the UK but routinely visit the state. She married her college sweetheart, Jeremy, in 2015.
At GLS, Daniela loves being able to work directly with clients. She finds it rewarding when someone trusts her enough to seek help. Sometimes, clients tell her this is the only time they’ve ever told someone their whole story. “People come to you when they’re at their worst,” she says. It can be scary to be entrusted with helping someone better their life, but she also sees the wonderful outcomes of her work every day.
Daniela also loves the sense of community at the Wimauma office. She works closely with her paralegal, Cynthia, as well as many community members. One of her current clients needed help paying rent, so Daniela reached out to a local community leader, who pitched in to cover it. In Wimauma, she is part of a large, very interconnected community, where peoples’ interest is helping others. “I like the motto: Tend to your garden,” she says. “Our clients are our garden.”
In the future, Daniela hopes to remain with GLS. She is proud of the work GLS is doing in the Wimauma community and calls her office, “The little office that could.”
Daniela, we are so lucky to have you at GLS. Your extensive history in legal aid, your heart, compassion, and drive are all inspiring. Our little office in Wimauma couldn’t be all that it is without you and Cynthia. Thank you for choosing us!