A pair of organizations that help children in their younger years has announced the winners of the 2011 Hands-on Hero Awards.
The awards go to people “for their outstanding contributions that make a difference in the lives of children, prenatal to 5, each and every day,” according to First 5 San Luis Obispo and Early Learning For All.
Those who received the award are: Emily Vanderzwag, a teacher at Cal Poly ASI Children’s Center; Dr. John Khan-Variba, medical director and pediatrician with Community Health Centers; and Lourdes Sandoval, a family child care provider.
Neita Oates, director of the Happy Time preschool, and Refujio Rodriguez, who specializes in working with Latino fathers in eight counties including San Luis Obispo County, also received awards.
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The awards were presented at the Hands-on Hero Awards dinner on May 9 at The Monday Club in San Luis Obispo.
The organizations received 58 nominations for 33 nominees. Each nomination was screened by an independent panel.
Other nominees included: Roberta Alderete, Sandy Mershon, Angela Barakat, Shannon Pimentel, Kena Burk of Community Health Centers of the Central Coast, Isabel Rea, Arica Cain and Jack’s Helping Hand co-founder Bridget Ready.
Candy Echeverria, Amanda Roach, Alma Flores, Rita Rodriguez, Meghan Gallagher, Erica Ruvalcaba-Heredia, Alma Garcia, Dottie Ryan, Katie Glover and Carole Schwartz were also nominated. As were Marilu Gomez, Yecenia Silvas, Cindy Illingsworth, Chelsea Starr, Terri Kurczewski, Julie Thompson, Stella Medina, Christina Warren, Cecilia Merrill and Leah Wood.