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Tyler Stuart, right, project manager for Options Collaborative, talks to colleague Robert Gutierrez in his Lompoc office. Stuart has been announced as the eighth nominee for this year's Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize.

Len Wood, Staff

The eighth nominee for this year’s Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize is Tyler Stuart, a Lompoc-based paralegal who specializes in document preparation for an array of legal situations as well as income tax preparation.

Stuart had a turbulent childhood and youth. He endured a series of disappointments while in the foster care system, and it wasn’t until he was 18 years old that he was adopted by a family who gave him love and security and an education. Thus, he is acutely attuned to the needs of the homeless.

To do something about their situations, Stuart started a nonprofit organization called Options Collaborative. Through the organization, he mentors clients, steering them toward the help they need, finding the right agency to address their problems and helping them through the process. Sometimes his work involves a hands-on effort to support his clients and be a guiding hand to help them out of their downward spiral.

His goal is to serve the underserved and to supplement the assets of underserved agencies.

Recently, Stuart spent a day getting a young man to Care for Crisis counseling. He also helped four young men, who had been living on the street, get an apartment, clean themselves up and start living productive lives.

Stuart offers his services to veterans and people of all faiths, all ethnicities, gay, lesbian and transgender people, prison inmates contemplating a strategy for life after release, recently exited foster kids and individuals contemplating gender reassignment. 

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Previously announced nominees for the 2017 Peace Prize were Shawndel MalcolmSarah BleylJenelle OsborneSteve StraightAngel RamosChuck Madson and Sabrina Ross.

The eighth annual Peace Prize Recognition Ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Valley of the Flowers United Church of Christ in Vandenberg Village.

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