Armando Telles is an Indigenous Chicano who focuses on community engagement initiatives that empower and elevate under-represented people and under-served communities. As the eldest of nine siblings, a Marine Corps veteran, and an astute entrepreneur with diverse community relations experience, he creates social impact through the creation of innovative solutions, coalition building, and strategic action.
Originally from Los Angeles, Armando has worked in California, Utah, Washington, Arizona, North Dakota, Ohio, and was stationed in Virginia and North Carolina, where he deployed with the 24th Mediterranean Expeditionary Unit aboard the LPD naval ship, USS Ponce, as a Marine Corps attachment unit touring the Mediterranean and Black Seas engaging in cross-military and humanitarian operations in 2001. He draws from an interdisciplinary education in sociology, public health and wellness, leadership development, legislative and governmental affairs, technology, social and restorative justice, voter rights, advocacy for victims and families impacted by human trafficking and the missing and murdered, communications, environmental sustainability, natural disaster and crisis response management, and military intelligence and logistics.
Specializing in community-centered and volunteer-driven programming, Armando is passionate about representation, and has engaged in direct action to reach and mobilize voters in Chican@/Latin@, African-American, Korean & Asian-American, and Indigenous communities.
Committed to cultivating the next generation of leaders from diverse cultural backgrounds, Armando facilitated the Unity Project of California internship program, which engaged youth and young adults with opportunities to learn and develop skills through volunteerism. As a Court Monitor for Youth Court in Escondido, California he provided case management for teens who were eligible for alternative solutions to resolve misdemeanor offenses, and as a Coach for a reentry program in San Diego for fathers between 16-25 years of age exiting incarceration who participated in programming to learn healthy parenting skills while reuniting with family support systems in an effort to reduce recidivism. As the first male executive board member for the Latina empowerment organization, MANA de North County San Diego, Armando mentored female teens with other MANA Ambassadors at Escondido High School to learn about leadership through civic engagement. Additionally, as an aliened-parent himself, Armando is an advocate for changing laws to create Family Law Reform for parental equality and equity to protect the identities and relationship between child and biological parents and families.
For veterans and military families, he has advocated for improved healthcare services; suicide, deportation, and homelessness prevention initiatives; and education, job training, and employment placement initiatives. Since 2019, Armando has served in an advisory role for Veteran Affairs for National City in San Diego County, California, including providing advisory for the annual National City Memorial Day Commemoration. While in the United States Marine Corps as a Landing Support Specialist from 2000-2003, he served as the battalion liaison for the Single Marine Program representing over 1,000 Marines and Sailors who lived on the Camp LeJeune base and coordinated community service activities to uplift morale and reduce the suicide rate. Once returning from enlisted service, he later served as the State Secretary for American G.I. Forum of California, as well as State Secretary for the California Democratic Party Veteran’s Caucus, and Founder and President of the Veteran's Democratic Club of San Diego County. Additionally, with a recorded entry registered at the U.S. Library of Congress from his participation in a nationwide StoryCorps campaign documenting the lives of service members and veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces called 'Homecoming: Past and Present', Armando incorporates preservation of oral and other histories to preserve, foster, and create heritage future generations can benefit from.
Other current and former affiliations include: Phi Theta Kappa- Alpha Omega Rho Chapter, Palomar College Associated Student Government, Retreet, San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council, ACLU of California, Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition, Ohio Voice, Ohio Voter Rights Coalition, Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, Foster Kids Matter, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Food Solider Hunger Coalition, California Department of Forestry, United States Marine Corps, Food Rescue Columbus, National Voter Registration Day, and Columbus Urban League.
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