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Award recipients at the 2017 Santa Ynez Valley Foundation and Santa Ynez Valley News Man and Woman of the Year Awards Banquet pose for a group photo at the Marriott in Buellton. Nominations for the 2018 honorees are now open.

Frank Cowan, Contributor

Nominations are now being accepted for the Santa Ynez Valley Foundation 2018 Man & Woman of the Year and Youth in Service awards.

Since 1996, these “quiet heroes” who volunteer in various ways throughout the community have been honored by the Valley Foundation in partnership with the Santa Ynez Valley News.

Additionally, awards are given for lifetime achievement and to volunteers in the foundation's primary areas of grant-making: service to youth, seniors, education, and health and human services. Each winner receives a grant from the foundation for donation to the charity of his or her choice.

Since 2012 the recognition program has sought nominees for Youth in Service awards to spotlight ninth through 12th grade students who provide outstanding service to others in the Santa Ynez Valley or Los Alamos. This scholarship award supports the youths’ further education or training.

Nomination forms are available at the offices of the Valley Foundation and the Santa Ynez Valley News. Nomination forms for Man & Woman of the Year and the Youth in Service Award can be found in the Santa Ynez Valley News starting Dec. 12. Forms will continue to be published through mid-January.

The deadline for nominations is Friday, Jan. 12.

Winners will be chosen by a panel of Valley Foundation board members, editors of the Valley News, and former Man and Woman of the Year winners, based on the nominations received. They will be honored March 24 at a banquet at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott in Buellton.

At that time the Valley Foundation will also be celebrating its commitment to improving the lives of people in the Santa Ynez Valley and Los Alamos by investing in programs that feed the poor, promote health, nurture seniors, challenge youth and inspire the community to make a difference.

The foundation grant recipients have included the Rona Barrett Foundation, Solvang and Buellton Senior Centers, Veggie Rescue, and the Santa Ynez Valley Therapeutic Riding Program.

For banquet tickets or for more information, call 688-2991, e-mail Administrative Director Anne Christensen at syvf@verizon.net, visit www.thevalleyfoundation.org, or drop by the Foundation's office at 540 Alisal Road, Suite 10, in Solvang.

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