WOODLAKE, Calif. (KSEE) – An afterschool program that students actually want to attend? You can bet it involves dogs.

Woodlake High School students Kayleen Sanchez and Lava Doyle are best friends who decided to get involved in their school’s service dog training program together.  

They say it was one of their best decisions for the dogs and the people who need them, but also for themselves.

“It teaches how to be patient and to calm down your anger issues and to be more social,” says Kayleen Sanchez, who is being recognized for her good character.

Another student shared the impact it’s making on her future goals.

“It’s been amazing working with animals.  It’s something I want to do when I’m older,” says Lava Doyle, who is also being recognized for good character.

Woodlake High instructor Katie Parker runs the program and wanted the girls recognized for their good character. Parker says each of them brings something special to the program.

“Kayleen is a perfect example. She walked into this room with no confidence, she couldn’t look me in the eye, and she didn’t want to talk to me at all and now she is my TA. She helps me run the classes,” says Parker.

Parker says the girl’s dedication to making their campus more inclusive is an example of having good character.

“Lava is just absolutely adorable.  She came into the program with all the smiles in the world. and I’ve seen her learn through dog training how to provide others with that sense of community.  She’s a very wonderful person to get to talk to and she really tries to get to know people,” says Parker.

Training these dogs for service will most certainly change lives and with the help of these two South Valley students from Woodlake High School, they’re already well on their way.