SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - This year's Junior Spirit of Fiesta, 10-year-old Paloma Valenzuela, is doing more than just dance.
She worked her way to becoming the Junior Fiesta while also raising money for a friend and others who have cancer.
“We raised $1,000 for the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation,” said Valenzuela.
When she heard her friend was sick with cancer she decided to help.
“She is so friendly and nice and then she had cancer and she couldn’t dance anymore and she was very sad and I wanted to make a difference,” said Valenzuela.
Valenzuela took part in the foundation's youth philanthropy program.
“Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation provides financial, educational and emotional assistance to local families who have a child battling cancer,” said Senior Development Director of Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation Eryn Shugart.
The youth program has raised $15,000 annually the last three years.
“It's so incredible it brings tears to my eyes,” said Shugart
The youth program not only helps families, but it also helps young people develop life skills.
“We found that by supporting these youths and focusing on philanthropy that they are really learning some great leadership and goal setting,” said Shugart.
Valenzuela plans to raise more money to help her friend and others in the coming months.
“We are going to do it again. I think this year we might do a bake sale again,” said Valenzuela.
The Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation will be holding their Golden Ribbon Campaign fundraiser this September 1 through September 30. The Gold Ribbon Luncheon will be held September 25 at Four Season Biltmore Resort in Santa Barbara.