Good Samaritan Shelter’s permanent housing project under way

Jack Boysen, chief financial officer at Good Samaritan Shelter, and Sylvia Barnard, executive director, look over plans for Casa de Familia, the organization's new apartment complex. Barnard was named one of five women of the year in 2012 for the 24th Congressional District by Rep. Salud Carbajal.

Five females from across the 24th Congressional District were named as the area's women of the year by Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara.

Carbajal's honorees include:

  • Santa Maria resident and executive director of the Good Samaritan shelter Sylvia Barnard, who after overcoming personal challenges as a single mother wrote a book to empower other women called "One Mother to Another."
  • Brenda Galvez, of Los Alamos, who works in the Orcutt Union School District as a liaison for Spanish-speaking parents and the founder of Padres en Acción, a committee whose mission is to keep Spanish-speaking parents informed about school matters to aid student success.
  • Santa Barbara resident Nancy Weiss, who has revolutionized her position as director of food services for the Santa Barbara School District by ensuring students have the healthiest meal options by eradicating fried foods, high fructose corn syrup and frozen entrees from school menus. She also banned Styrofoam trays from district cafeterias.
  • Suzanne Curtis, the volunteer coordinator at the American Red Cross in San Luis Obispo and sole contributor to a scholarship at Cuesta College for veteran women.
  • Morro Bay resident Dawn Addis for being one of the co-founders of the Women's March San Luis Obispo. Through her leadership, approximately 10,000 people marched in solidarity with women around the world and took part in the larger national conversation.

March was Women's History Month, and the freshman congressman believes it is important to acknowledge women throughout the Central Coast who are working to improve the quality of life locally.

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"It was truly inspiring learning more about what individuals are doing in the 24th District to improve our community," Carbajal said. "There are so many individuals across the Central Coast that are making a positive impact in our communities, and I was proud to recognize five of them today in Congress."

Carbajal also read a special recognition to each woman into the Congressional Record and will present the tributes to each woman at a future date, according to a spokesman.

While there are no specific criteria for nominations, Carbajal looks for women to recognize who, through their work or volunteerism, have improved the quality of life for the Central Coast, the spokesman said.

The 24th Congressional District includes Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties and the northern portion of Ventura County.

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April Charlton covers Santa Barbara County for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow her on Twitter@WordsDawn