Staff Report

With summer break taking shape, United Way of Santa Barbara County is looking for lunch-hour volunteers to share life experience with young scholars taking part in the nonprofit’s summer Fun in the Sun (FITS) program.

Lunch Bunch is a daily volunteer mentorship component of the six-week FITS summer learning program. Volunteers meet with the campers to eat lunch, play board games, do crafts and have fun on the playground.

Volunteers and students engage in discussions about school, future careers and college.

“Taking an hour out of your day can mean inspiring a student to think about what they can do with their education, interests and careers that they may have never considered,” said Steve Ortiz, United Way of Santa Barbara County CEO.

“Volunteers don’t have any typical age, background or profession,” he said. “What they have in common is a desire to share their passion and enthusiasm.”

Lunch Bunch Summer 2019 runs June 24-July 25 at FITS program sites throughout the county, including Solvang Elementary, El Camino Elementary in Goleta, Franklin Elementary on Santa Barbara’s Eastside, Harding Elementary on Santa Barbara’s Westside, and Carpinteria Middle School.

Volunteers can sign up in their community individually or in teams. Visit or email Victoria Dominguez, for more.

Each summer, FITS offers participants a fun learning environment with a daily emphasis on literacy, including reading and writing; science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM); service learning projects; character education; financial literacy; and educational field trips.

Fun in the Sun is United Way’s six-week program designed to reduce summer learning loss and narrow the achievement gap for at-risk students in grades 3-12.

Fun in the Sun supports United Way of Santa Barbara County’s larger United for Literacy initiative, which provides a continuum of services to improve literacy and graduation rates in Santa Barbara County.