Venice Patch is proud to announce that Armando Diaz, an unsung hero who has been a relentless advocate for children and families in Venice, has been chosen as the Venice Patch 2011 Person of the Year.
Diaz, who is the associate executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Venice, received 303 of the 643 votes (47 percent) cast in our unscientific poll. Diaz formerly served as the president of the Playa Venice Rotary Club and also is a member of the Venice Chamber of Commerce.
His nominator said that Diaz is a "tireless advocate" for children and families in Venice and often works long hours attending meetings to gain support for programs for young children and teens. He has helped secure funding for after-school programs at Venice High School, such as band, tutoring and after-school fitness and also has spearheaded the partnership between the Boys & Girls Club and Mark Twain Middle Schol to provide after-school programming.
He also has helped with an arts program that sees youth artwork from Boys & Girls Club participants displayed at the monthly Venice Art Crawl.
Diaz also will be honored later this month with a Community Leader award from the Boys & Girls Club of Venice, which recognizes exceptional volunteerism and long-standing support of the club.
Edizen Stowell of Venice Paparazzi took 12 percent of the vote and received substantial support among reader comments. Kelley Baker wrote, "Edizen is amazing & has my vote. Not only is she sweet & great at what she does, but she also is always there to help you & your business grow! Thanks Edizen & Venice Paparazzi."
Kelly Furtado also praised Stowell, saying: "She keeps us in Venice current on all the community events, charitable causes and updated on all meetings and activity to help us participate in making our neighborhood the best it can be. Venice would not be the same without her!"
Sunny Bak, Venice Art Crawl supporter, artist and animal rescuer, also took 12 percent of the vote.
The designer of the "Hecho en Venice" logo was nominated and identified thanks to Bret at Yo Venice! as Oscar Galan, who we notified on Facebook and he responded that he was honored by the nomination.
Steve Clare of the Venice Community Housing Authority received 8 percent of the vote for his work in finding long-term housing for the homeless.
Congratulations to all the nominees and thank you for your contributions that make Venice such a unique and beloved community.
For a full list of all the nominees, check here.