SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

A local pageant winner who is also an emergency dispatcher with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department is giving back to the community.

27 year-old Tiffany Allen grew up in Bakersfield surrounded by violence and drugs.
"At a time when I was supposed to be a child, I was raising my three siblings. The majority of my childhood memories were things like changing diapers, making bottles and homelessness, and wondering where my next meal was going to come from," said Allen.

She says that experience and her role as the reigning Miss California International gave her the desire to raise awareness about local youth organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters.  It's a program that matches at-risk children with a positive adult role model.

She's been working with the organization for four years. She mentors an 11 year-old girl.  Allen said, "The little girl I met three years ago is no longer shy and introverted. Today, she is strong and she is significantly more confident."

Big Brothers Big Sisters is run by Family Service Agency. If you would like to become a mentor or learn more about the program log on to: www.fsacares.org or call 805-965-1001.