SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - While many students took the summer break to vacation and enjoy the time off from studying, one local girl spent time learning about more than she ever could in a textbook through volunteer work.
Meet Brooklyn Ayala, a third grader at Roosevelt School.
When it comes to summer vacation, there are two things this 8-year-old said she loves doing.
"I like to play with my friends. [Go to the] Park," she said.
But this summer was different for Brooklyn as she found a new favorite place to be Friday afternoons: The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.
"I went to Picnic in the Park," Brooklyn said. "And I served food to kids."
Picnic in the Park is the food bank's 10-week program providing nutritious free meals to needy children.
"Hunger exists in our county," said Misha Karbelnig of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. "It's a really surprising amount of people that need food bank assistance. It's 1 in 4 all throughout our county that need help."
That's why Brooklyn's father, Daniel, chose volunteering as a weekly part of their summer
"I wanted to teach my daughter virtues of charity, service and kindness," Ayala said.
Ayala said it's an important lesson that goes beyond the classroom doors, and one he hopes all parents will teach their kids.
"I think she's gaining a greater appreciation for people in need," Ayala said. "And how she can be an instrument in helping those who are in need."
Brooklyn said she will head back to school this fall with a whole different take on life.
"I want to help people and the world can be a better place," she said.
The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is looking for volunteers for programs this fall. If you're interested, you can find more information on its website.