From an early age, Dawn felt committed to social justice issues. She left university for two years to dedicate herself to the service-learning and leadership programs City Year and Public Allies. She then returned to university to further develop her knowledge in the arts and social service, graduating with a degree in Psychology from the University of Vermont in 1996. After several years of community outreach and organizing around youth, media, the arts, and politics, Dawn, with the assistance of her board, developed and launched Justice by Uniting in Creative Energy (J.U.i.C.E.), a hip hop focused community center, inspired specifically by her work with incarcerated youth. Since 2001, J.U.i.C.E. has offered breakdancing, deejaying, emceeing, mural and graffiti art and music production instruction, mentoring, and practice sessions to about 100 young people per weekly session. The center’s only ground rule was and continues to be “respect”. The program has been featured in the LA Times, as well as on ABC, FOX, MUN2, and a variety of other outlets. She concurrently worked with the national political watchdog organization Common Cause and later served as the lead coordinator of the “Art Matters” Conferences organized by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. J.U.i.C.E. is still in operation today, and has served thousands of youth from the neighboring primarily Latino and Korean communities and from around the world. Witnessing the impact of the arts on young people who had been through great strife had facilitated a deep appreciation for the human spirit in Dawn, but, more recently, spiritual growth on a personal and global level has become her preeminent focus.
The events of 9/11 brought to the forefront for Dawn issues of mortality, purpose, and spirituality. In 2006, when Dawn became pregnant with her son, creating a conscious and healthful existence for her whole family seemed of paramount importance. In 2007, Dawn launched the website Spiritlist.com, a job, opportunities, and services portal exclusively for Southern Californians passionate about organics, well-being, spirituality, and the earth. The same year, she became a student at The New Seminary, a leader in the education, ordination, and development of Interfaith Ministers for over 25 years. Dawn was ordained by The New Seminary and officiates weddings and other ceremonies specializing in rituals from various ethnic and faith traditions to create truly exceptional and memorable occasions.
She offers certified personalized premarital counseling, and truly believes in its value to ensuring a strong foundation for a marriage. Dawn writes about holistic living for various outlets. Her work has been featured in Whole Life Times, Awareness Magazine, The Messenger, LA Yoga Magazine, Atlanta’s Oracle 20-20, and on GetMarried.com, and she speaks English, French, and Spanish.
Rev. Dawn Smith-Camacho
Southern California (with occasional stops in NYC, ATL, and Bay Area)
In 2012, Dawn began offering holistic career coaching, with the intention of helping others feel some of the joy and fulfillment she has discovered. In 2013, Whole Life Solutions was formed to support clients in creating order inside and out. Dawn offers professional speaking on effective decision-making and navigating major change: assisting employees and entrepreneurs in getting off the hamster wheel and finding or re-connecting with their spark. Clients include Vistage, UNICEF, the LAPD, WIPA, NACE, and Oracle. She also supports individual coaching clients with identifying their core values, time management, prioritizing, and honing in on their ideal path.