Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February's Mina Maven

Our year begins in February and as they say, better late than never….and better is right! Our February MINA Maven, Elisa Diaz, sets the bar high for 2011. As a sophomore at Coral Reef Senior High School, Elisa or Eli as her friends call her, is an avid reader, an aspiring actress, a philanthropist, a football fan, a shoe diva and of course, a MINA maven.

She may be young, but make no mistake, Eli knows what’s important – family and friends. She truly values her family and all her friends, “I really like hanging out with my friends and think friendship is one of the most important things in life”. She also understands the importance of giving – not only of your money, but of your time and of yourself. Eli has had the opportunity to work with Best Buddies International, a non-profit organization that creates opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “My school has special education classes that intertwine with the Best Buddies program, partnering a high school student with a high school student with Autism. I have lunch with my buddy every Friday.” Separately, Eli has also worked with the Autism Society, Habitat for Humanity and Camillus House. Where does she get her inspiration? Her parents. “It may sound like a cliché, but my role models would have to be my parents. They both have gone through struggles to get to where they are today. Every successful person has had obstacles to overcome. I’ve just been lucky enough to have my role models live with me.”

With all that being said, what else does our MINA Maven do? What does she like? Well…acting seems to be one of her passions. She began acting in elementary school when she joined a company called ‘Shakespeare in the Park’. The company is similar to the one in New York, putting on free performances at least twice a year. Since then, her acting has blossomed. She has attended performing arts schools, including South Miami Middle’s Magnet Drama Program, as well as the visual and arts academy she attends now, Coral Reef Senior High School.

Her future plans? She has many! She’s only 15, but has plans on attending college. She’s even contemplating law school. “Throughout my life, I've always changed what I wanted to do for a living, but being an attorney is the idea that has stuck around the longest. I'd love to go to law school and have a BFA in theatre.” But wait, her plans don’t stop there, she also wants to travel – extensively. Her ideal plan: “I would also love to travel to Europe. It's always been a dream of mine and I love love love to travel! I have high expectations for my future and I can't wait to begin accomplishing them.”

As you can clearly read, Eli is a bit wiser than the average 15 year old. Why you ask? Well, you may have heard of her father, Manny Diaz, the former Mayor of the City of Miami. Eli has grown up a bit faster than most kids – she’s been in the spotlight a bit more. In her own words, “Since my dad became mayor when I was 5 years old it definitely made me grow up faster than other kids. I had the benefit of meeting a lot of influential people in society and also attending a lot of things that lots of kids growing up don't. I love that he was a politician, it gave me a different perspective on life and I think I'm a lot more mature now because of it".

But wait, there's more to Eli, we can't forget her very eclectic sense of style. "If I were to describe my style, it would have to be contrasting. My wardrobe includes everything from combat boots to oxfords to vintage high-waisted jeans to little black dresses". Her collection also boasts a watch for almost every mood, every outfit. Her greatest obsession...shoes. She says it's genetic...maybe Mom has something to do with this one.

Hats off to our February MINA Maven, Elisa Diaz, you've accomplished a lot in your 15 years...we know you're going to accomplish a whole lot more!

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