People or Money? Decided!

Last month, we told you we needed $8,800 to complete our $20,000 matching grant.  And during the month of December, you stepped up to the challenge and contributed $9,703 to CAPACES Leadership Institute.

While we’re very excited that in the last few days of December your donations surpassed our $20,000 matching grant, there’s something we’re even more excited about.   More than 32% of these donations came from first-time donors. 

Here’s how our staff feel about our first-time donors:

2015 CLI Staff Thanks You!


Our donors make a difference by providing critical funding needed to keep CAPACES running.  They also provide invaluable moral support to our team and show our greater community that they trust we are accomplishing our mission: to prepare leaders with the political consciousness and skills needed to lead and support social justice work.

And this trust you place in us both encourages us to strive even farther, and enables us to access resources we otherwise wouldn’t be able to.

This year, your donations will advance the RE-TURNO youth program, increase the effectiveness of our Leadership Transitions 2.0 course, and allow us to cultivate new sources of funding.

So, when we consider what is more important, you or the donation you give, we always come up with the same answer:  YOU are more important than a fundraising goal being met.

Our sincere thanks to all of our first-time donors.  While the cash is, of course, always welcome, we are most grateful for you believing in us.

Your generosity changes lives and reshapes communities.
If you’re ready, join our staff and become a monthly donor.

¡Así se puede!
In solidarity,

Rose Barker and the team at CAPACES Leadership Institute

Winter brings great changes

Saludos from CAPACES Leadership Institute!

2014.11 Appeal Jose   The TURNO youth program you’ve supported for the last three years is still going strong. TURNO is all about leadership, identity, and higher education.

We’re excited to tell you that we are now offering assistance to high school students to transition into local trade apprenticeships after graduation.   The TURNO program is now called RE-TURNO, because we are Reinforcing Education to a new group of students.

To lead this project, we welcome José García to the CAPACES team.
José has a background similar to that of the RE-TURNO students, and a history of being involved with the Latino movement.  Jose is excited to offer the type of guidance and mentoring he wishes he’d had as a high school student.

Photo: Jose, Diana, Elizabeth, and Brenda tackle a project together

   RE-TURNO has been busy this school year.  Visiting guests from Oregon State University and Willamette University led workshops on Latino leaders in the USA, life as a college student, applying for college, Chicano leader Cipriano Ferrel’s legacy, and how to write a personal story.

A few weeks ago our students partnered with Club de Lenguas Indígenas at Woodburn High School to lead a 6-mile march in Woodburn to promote Measure 88.  Students also visited Oregon State University and Willamette University to experience college life and learn about financial aid opportunities.
RE-TURNO student Diana Morales Cruz comes from a low-income immigrant farmworker family.  She said this about her experience at Oregon State University:

I wasn’t sure about going to school because of how much it cost.  My family is not able to contribute a lot financially to my college education.  I know if I can’t go to college I will help my family in our business.

At OSU we learned a lot about college life, and about a support center called CAMP (College Assistance Migrant Program).  Now I know that there are resources ready to help me and that I can succeed in college. I’m investing in myself.  I’ll get a good job after graduating, and I’ll help my family out.

Elizabeth Sanchez Manzo, who joined the group of 10 students visiting OSU, said:

Before going to OSU with RE-TURNO, I thought college homework was going to be too hard.  But when I saw the students studying and then they told me that all I needed to do is prioritize my schedule, I realized college is actually easier than I’d imagined.  Now I really want to go to college!

   And all of this is happening because of generosity from donors like you!

This winter and spring, RE-TURNO will amp up their new program preparing and matching students with apprenticeships, continue higher education activities, and participate in the CAPACES 101 workshop.

Would you please help us turn these goals into a reality for our students?

Your support gives more students the opportunity to succeed in life!

Make your tax-deductible donation by December 31 to be matched by a grantor.  If you help us reach $8,785 in donations by the end of this year, we will meet our goal of earning $20,000 in matching grant funds.

   Donate online today at:
Address checks
to CAPACES Leadership Institute to the address below.

Please consider donating monthly.  Each member of CAPACES’ staff donates to the Institute monthly—because we believe in what we are doing. We need you to stand alongside us.

The personal impact for each student you help is invaluable. Your generosity changes lives and reshapes communities.  Thank you for supporting our mission:  to prepare leaders with the political consciousness and skills needed to lead and support social justice work.
In solidarity,


Laura Isiordia and the team at CAPACES Leadership Institute

P.S.:  Your donation changes lives.
Donate before December 31 and your gift will be matched by a grant!
Donate online or mail a check postmarked by December 31 to
CAPACES Leadership Institute
356 Young St, Woodburn, Oregon 97071

New: RE-TURNO and Staff Member José

Greetings from CAPACES Leadership Institute!
The weather is crisp and sunny,  and we’re excited to tell you the big news:

– We welcome José García, RE-TURNO Program Coordinator
– TURNO becomes RE-TURNO:  Trades are encouraged!
– Students marched for justice, catch Senator’s attention
– Special thanks:  Honoring Monica Smith

Jose Garcia CAPACES TURNOMeet José García, our newest team member.  José is a recent graduate of Western Oregon University where he studied Business.  He was involved in the Multicultural Student Union and MEChA.   He will serve in RE-TURNO alongside present Program Coordinator Abel Valladares.

Jose is excited to serve with RE-TURNO because he will be able to offer the valuable guidance and mentoring he found to be lacking when he attended high school in Salem.  Eventually he would like to be a high school teacher, and he knows his experience with RE-TURNO will provide critical insight and experience enabling him to be an excellent educator.

RE-TURNO  youth program is kicking into full gear.  The foundation of the TURNO program we’ve ran for the last three years is still going strong: TURNO is all about leadership, identity, and higher education.

RE-TURNO adds an additional component:  Job readiness and trade apprenticeship.  RE-TURNO stands for Reenforcing Education – Talento Universitario Regresando a Nuestros Origenes.  CAPACES teamed with Woodburn School District, Chemekteta Community CollegePacific University, and a list of local trade businesses to establish a pipeline for students to move from high school into college or a trade.  Local businesses will provide apprenticeships and students can earn corresponding certifications, provide valuable work and resume experience, and recommendations for future employers.

Ramon Ramirez TURNO Marcha CAPACESLast week RE-TURNO students and the Club de Lenguas Indígenas from Woodburn High School carefully organized a march.  On these students’ day off, they stood for what they believe in:  That all Oregonians need a safe and legal way to get to school, work, and church.

Thirty students marched more than six miles, first shying away from the megaphone, than eagerly awaiting their turn.  Encouraging more citizens to vote yes on Measure 88 meant something profound to these students, and they were willing to stand for what they believe in.

TURNO Marcha Inicio CAPACESBefore marching, Ramon Ramirez, President of PCUN farmworker union, led students in discourse about protests, marches, how to interact with police, and how to respond to combative bystanders.

CAPACES Leadership Institute’s mission: to prepare leaders with the political consciousness and skills needed to lead and support social justice work.

The students’ initiative caught the eye of Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney.  He plans to meet with all the students who participated to speak with them about the importance of civic participation.
We are proud of our students’ initiative, leadership skills, and conviction to do what is just.


Please include CAPACES in your holiday giving and support programs including RE-TURNO.

We are seeking 10 new monthly sustaining donors this year; will you please consider making a monthly donation?

You can give any amount online,
or contact us if you would like to arrange a different form of donation.
A special thanks to all who came out and volunteered at the work brigade last Saturday in honor of Monica Smith.  We are grateful and honored by her legacy and your involvement in the community.

TURNO Marcha highway CAPACES

Touching Lives –

Greetings from CAPACES Leadership Institute!

Although Oregon’s weather is gently easing into fall, its political climate has been tumultuous for some time. Throughout this season, CAPACES Leadership Institute has remained a strong shelter for the communities we serve in the Willamette Valley.

We continue to guide community leaders of our sister organizations so they might be better equipped to navigate and lead their organizations’ constituents through the issues that so deeply affect our community. And leaders who seek training at the Institute are thriving; their spirits are strong, and their hearts wear the confident “Así Se Puede” (This is how it’s done!) outlook.

As fall unfolds its bold splendor of color, we are delighted to celebrate the initiative and accomplishments of CAPACES network member Fabiola Camacho. Her spirit to volunteer and to prosper her community reflect the core of the Institute’s mission: to prepare leaders with the political consciousness and skills needed to lead and support social justice work.

CAPACES Leadership Institute offers a unique program to establish and equip leaders called Leadership Forum. Fabiola Camacho recently participated in Leadership Forum 2.0: Leadership for the Long Haul. She has a long history of volunteerism and service as a leader within the movement. She currently works with our sister organization Farmworker Housing Development Corporation at Nuevo Amanecer in Woodburn, and volunteers her time serving their after school program.

Fabiola CamachoFrom Fabiola:

“I love to jump in head first in whenever there is an opportunity to learn. If I go to a class to learn, I know my mind will expand and I will be more knowledgeable. I am nourished and strengthened by both the people leading 2.0 and my compañeros attending it with me. The more that I reach out to them, the more I learn, and the more personal goals that I can accomplish. With groups like CAPACES, I’m not just going to get to my goals quicker, I’m going to have an even farther reach than I imagined.

The 2.0 class gave me the opportunity to get to know my compañeros and to better understand them. Now when I arrive to class, I see them for who they really are; not as employees of an organization, but humans with the same emotions and struggles and desire to help our community and to fight injustice that I have. Now they’re my second family. We desperately need this companionship and solidarity. I vividly remember the first time I felt the desire to hug one of my compañeras – Before the 2.0 class we greeted each other out of formality. Now I know her story, and we are open to one another. Next time I see her I will greet her with a hug.

I also see the movement leaders completely different now. I know I can call them with any need, and they will gladly help me. I can express, grow, trust, and be stronger because the leaders invited me to join them in the 2.0 class and share the strength and knowledge that I have. During our individual mentorship meetings, the leaders coach us, give us ideas and suggestions, and strengthen us. My mentor, Laura, helped me start studying accounting after years of wanting to but being too overwhelmed to get started. I learned that I have to do something for anything to happen, and that when I act, I have positive results.

I am hungry to learn. When I go to a buffet, I know what foods are healthy and which foods my body needs. In the same way, I know that choosing to attend classes with CAPACES strengthens my body and my person. I now have a good base and good roots that will help my branches weather the storms and spring back quickly during hard times. The most important thing is that now I believe in myself.”

Thank you, Fabiola, for your hard work and service to our community!

Grateful for YOU


Hot summer days are waning, and we at CAPACES are excitedly channeling the momentum from our anniversary celebration into our fall programs. You may have noticed a recent Facebook trend – and it’s not the Ice Bucket Challenge!  Friends are challenging one another to write about what they are grateful for each day for one week.  
And we want YOU to know we are truly, deeply grateful for YOUR support (that’s an understatement!).

So many faces graced the CAPACES campus at our anniversary event: teachers of all kinds, giddy children, long-term volunteers and new friends, members of the government and non-profit world, and colleagues from most of our sister organizations.

You can watch the anniversary event and interviews of staff and community here: Part 1  Part 2

We are honored, and want to thank all of you who have brought CAPACES Leadership Institute to where we are today, and launching us into an even brighter future.

You may have heard over the din of the lively music – we recently began asking friends to donate monthly to CAPACES just as all of the staff do.  Ten people at the anniversary chose to become sustaining donors, and many more offered a one-time gift.

Each and every gift matters, and double of what you might think:  CAPACES was offered a $20,000 matching grant.  The gifts supporting our anniversary, including the monthly donations, total $7,085, and will be doubled!

We have $12,915 to fundraise by the end of the year.  If you would like to become a sustaining donor, please donate by credit card online or email us at

Thanks for ALL you do to serve our community; we are truly thankful.

CAPACES Leadership Institute is a non-profit organization based in Woodburn, Oregon that prepares leaders with the political consciousness and skills needed to lead and support social justice work.

More photos will be up on our website and Facebook soon!

* Campesino Clap: CAPACES staff lead the community in a “ASÍ se puede” applause.
Photo:  Maria Hernandez S.
*Julizza, TURNO youth student, speaking to a captive audience.
Photo:  © Rick Keating Photographer 

August 9: Save the date!

August 9:   Save the Date!
CLI Grand Opening

Our third anniversary celebration is quickly arriving!  We are proud to accomplish so much in the prior year, and we want to celebrate these milestones with you.

This last year marked significant leadership growth in staff from our sister organizations, TURNO high school students, and community members who have participated in our leadership courses.

Did you know that in the three year history of TURNO, 100% of high school seniors have graduated and are continuing on to higher education?  TURNO students know they are university talent, and we are here to equip and enable them to reach their maximum potential.

At this year’s anniversary celebration, participants of our Leadership Transitions course and TURNO youth program will share their personal stories of how CAPACES transformed the way they envision their role in the community, and the effect it’s had on their lives.

Ron Mize, Director of The Center for Latina/Latino Studies and Engagement at OSU (CL@SE), will be our keynote speaker.  Ron is a strong ally of CAPACES, aiding in the development of the PISCA program evaluation project.  PISCA is an acronym for Project: Impacting Social and Community Advancement.  PISCA exists to strengthen the leadership programs we already have in place, and to identify and develop programs that will benefit our network and community in the future.  Ron, his staff at CL@SE, and the team at CAPACES are collaborating on this project which will shape the future of the Institute.

Next year we will be expanding the TURNO youth program, strengthening Leadership 2.0, and implementing PISCA findings, in addition to other course offerings.

CAPACES Ribbon Cutting

Our community impact is what it is because of you.
You can help maximize this impact in the coming year – The first $20,000 in donations will be matched by a grant!

If you are unable to attend but would like to make a donation to support CAPACES’ leadership programs, donate online today at:

Please address checks to CAPACES Leadership Institute and mail to the address above.
All donations are tax deductible.

Thank you for your continued involvement!
Laura Isiordia
Executive Director

We graduated: What’s next?

Remember High School?

How the last week of the school year was the most anticipated?  How you didn’t have to worry about doing homework? How you were excited about what the next year would bring and the wonder of what life after high school would be like? What jobs you would need to get? Or the pressure to help parents financially after all they did for you? Or how to you were going to pay for or find money to go to college?

These are all the questions the TURNO cohort of 2014 had.  Their school year ended yesterday, June 17.  

This year we have two freshman, two sophomores, ten juniors, and four exceptional seniors completing the program.  Read about Senior Alfonzo’s art accomplishments here.

Volunteer Ian Niktab teaches TURNO students about the three types of grasses, and which we desire in our bioswales.  Ian works with Planting Communities in Woodburn.
Volunteer Ian Niktab teaches TURNO students about the three types of grasses, and which we desire in our bioswales. Ian works with Planting Communities in Woodburn.

These 21 young bright minds came through our doors less than a year ago. They’ve showed us how much more we have to learn from the young people in Woodburn, OR. The future of the program is bright with more than half of the participants coming back next year. And we are getting ready do it even better next year.

This summer marks the first time we will be doing a summer program.  Four of the current participants will be part of an eight week program where they will be working directly with our movement leaders and mentors. During the summer program the TURNO participants will be learning about movement building strategies and trainings, civic engagement, the power of radio, and how to recruit and retain volunteers.

I will be happy to tell you more in person during our third anniversary party, August 9 from 4pm-7pm at CAPACES Leadership Institute in Woodburn. Hope to see you there.

With much Love and respect,
Abel Valladares 

Following the lead…

From the desk of Rosi –

One of my favorite attributes of CAPACES Leadership Institute is its inclusivity. Regardless of skill, skin color, nationality, opinion, or your past or present, you are eagerly welcomed as a part of our community.
This acceptance of diversity is reflected in our visitors, volunteers, program participants, Brigada work days, and groups hosting events at our state-of-the-art Passive House facility.
We would be honored by your visit, too! 

Quick note:  Brigada work party Saturday May 24 @ CAPACES – food, fun, friends, and… bring your work clothes!

2014.05 WU Interns
Ruben, Zesar, Lupe, Sam, and Isa

We are proud to have recently worked with Beatriz, Lupe, Sam, and Isa.  These four interns from Willamette University served at CAPACES, PCUN, and Radio Movimiento for 10 weeks, sleeves rolled up and great energy abounding.

Sam commented, “The most positive takeaway from working with CAPACES was working with young future leaders from the Woodburn community who are intelligent, hardworking, and have very bright futures ahead of them. It was also very humbling to gain an inside perspective on how much work goes into making an organization such as CAPACES functional and successful.”

Lupe added, “The students especially showed me incredible amounts of warmth and they reminded me to stay true to my roots because there will always be a younger generation looking for a positive role model.”

The internship was part of their coursework for Transnational Labor Politics.  Thank you for your contributions!

In May CAPACES hosted Beyond Pesticides‘ 2014 national conference.  Beyond Pesticides participants spent one of their seminar days learning about the impact of pesticide use while visiting sister organizations CAPACES Leadership Institute, PCUN, and the Farmworker Housing Development Corporation (FHDC).

2014.04 Beyond Pesticides
Beyond Pesticides visits PCUN, CAPACES, and FHDC

After listening to testimonials from Carmen and Rafaela, touring farmworker housing, and learning more of the true impacts of pesticide use, they responded in this video with one word or phrase that summarized their experience. Check out the video here.

Thank you for being a part of our community, Beyond Pesticides!

We also hosted Pacific University‘s council meeting, and shared a day with Hacienda CDC, among other wonderful visitors. What an honor!
(PS – Check out the new Mercado Hacienda is building in Portland.)

2014.04 Hacienda CDC
Hacienda CDC establishing deeper ties with CAPACES

Right now we’re working on establishing a volunteer program. To those of you have generously offered of yourselves, I promise we’ve not forgotten you.  We’re looking forward to best utilizing your time and interests within the CAPACES community.

We look forward to seeing you here.

All my best,

Rosi Barker
Director of Development at CAPACES Leadership Institute

She did it!

Brenda Mendoza of PCUNWe’d like to share a success story with you:  that of community leader Brenda Mendoza, the Director of PCUN’s Service Center.

Leadership Transitions, one of CAPACES Leadership Institute’s flagship programs, finished its first year in January.  The cohort included leaders from CAPACES’ nine sister organizations and included Brenda Mendoza. In the program participants establish their leadership goals, make a plan to achieve them, and identify any obstacles to these goals.

Brenda’s goal was to become accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals(BIA) to practice immigration work by the end of the Leadership Transitions program. This wasn’t a new goal for Brenda. Although she had desired the accreditation for five years, she thought her lack of formal education would be an obstacle.  In addition to needing a boost in confidence, Brenda was reasonably daunted by the enormous task of listing her accomplishments from her 14 years in PCUN’s Service Center for her application.

With the support of the Leadership Forum cohort, Brenda began taking steps to achieve accreditation. Her mentor helped her organize her work accomplishments, such as how many immigration cases she worked on and how many hours she invested.

On August 30th, 2013, Brenda received approval of her accreditation request.  She was in disbelief – she never thought she had a chance.  In truth, she simply did not know what she was capable of.  “As a person, Leadership Transitionsempowered me to realize the potential I have to make a long-lasting social change in my community and for the good of all people,” Brenda said.

Although the program is over, the conversations that began continue.  As the leaders collaborate, they continue to develop camaraderie and a greater understanding between themselves and their organizations.  This strengthens our Movement.

Since Leadership Transitions, Brenda continues to draw on CLI’s Executive Director, Laura Isiordia, as a resource.  Interestingly, Laura said she did not even know that she was capable of teaching Brenda.  “Leadership Transitions,” Brenda says, “helped all of us to realize our full potential in spite of our fears.”

Brenda’s BIA accreditation allowed the PCUN Service Center to expand from two part-time staff to two full-time and one part-time staff.  She mentored one of those staff, Elisa Andrade, to become the third at PCUN to have her BIA accreditation.   When CIR passes, both Brenda and Elisa will manage 5 people in the service center.

We at CAPACES Leadership Institute are proud of Brenda’s and Elisa’s accomplishments, and grateful to see that the Leadership Transitions program is fostering participants to strengthen their leadership skills and better serve their community.

Granting a Community’s Wish

How does the future of a social justice group radically change in only a day?

On February 19, Meyer Memorial Trust awarded CAPACES Leadership Institute a three year grant to evaluate and strengthen our core programs, identify and create programs that will benefit the entire community we serve, and hire Evaluation Project Assistant Jorge Martinez.

We are delighted to partner with Cl@se, The Center for Latina/Latino Studies and Engagement at Oregon

State University. The entire project will be conducted in conjunction with Cl@se’s esteemed researchers Dr. Ron Mize, Professor Loren Chavarria, and Dr. Daniel Lopez-Cevallos.

Jorge Martinez daughter


Jorge Martinez joins the CAPACES team with expertise, passion, and insight. Jorge spent 6 years working in program development and evaluation with OSU Extension Service and has experience in farmworking, bringing valuable experience to the CAPACES community. He is a Latino with ties to Guanajuato and Nuevo Leon, and proudly speaks of his wife Maribel and daughter Jimena.


Meyer Memorial Trust works with and invests in organizations, communities, ideas and efforts that contribute to a flourishing and equitable Oregon. They partnered with us in 2012 to launch our youth leadership program TURNO.

We are thrilled to work with Meyer Memorial Trust, Jorge, and OSU’s Cl@se research department.

In gratitude,
– The team at CAPACES Leadership Institute

MMT Logo


Join the conversation – Your voice is needed!

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Gratitude and a TV Interview

We hope you are enjoying springtime; it is exciting to watch flowers unfold in Woodburn!

What’s in this email:
– A huge THANK YOU to you!
– A video news report by UNIVISION interviewing several who crafted the CAPACES mural.

Thanks to your generosity, our winter appeal featuring Zesar and the TURNO youth program was a tremendous success.  We are so grateful you choose to give to CAPACES Leadership Institute when your philanthropy could be directed to many other equally deserving causes.  Many of you were first time donors and we could not be more grateful for your participation.

A message from our TURNO youth to our donors:

TURNO Thank You

We were offered $15,000 in matching funds by a private donor, and you gifted over $18,000.   This means more than $33,000 will be directed toward new programs and reinforcing our existing programs.  This investment will affect not only the future of our youth and shape other CAPACES programs, but ripple out into the community as a whole.

Thank you for your commitment to our community and supporting our mission to prepare emerging leaders in Latino communities for leadership in community-based non-profits and public service.

A team from Spanish news station UNIVISION, the US’ largest Spanish language TV network, visited CAPACES Leadership Institute to learn about our mural.  They knew the mural was special but were surprised and delighted to learn that our mural united the community and attracted artists and volunteers nationally.  UNIVISION also learned it brought attention toward workers’ rights and fostered youth leadership.

Please check out UNIVISION’s news story here (Spanish).

Below:  TURNO student leader Zesar Hernandez interviewed by Delia Hernandez, UNIVISION

Have you visited CAPACES recently and experienced the mural?  We would love to see you!  If you cannot visit, please do check out the news report to view its powerful history and beauty.

If you would like to volunteer with us in any capacity, we would love your support.  Please join us here.

Warm regards,
CAPACES Leadership Institute staff

Join the conversation – Your voice is needed!

Please join our Facebook page to contribute your stories and stay current on issues and celebrations in our region.

Dear Friends of CAPACES Leadership Institute,

Your support of the Institute has made more than the murals on our walls shine; local youth are radiantly blossoming.

2013 marked the turning point toward success in the lives of many high school students participating in CAPACES Leadership Institute’s TURNO youth program.  TURNO equips students for graduation and higher learning; it mentors students in leadership skills.  Volunteering through TURNO affords them the opportunity to radically change how they view and interact with the world.

A few of our 40 radiant TURNISTAS – Zesar stands center left.

A message from Zesar Reyes, a Sophomore at Woodburn High School:

“My name is Zesar.  I want to tell you about what’s happening in the community that CAPACES affects.

I came to the USA just over a year ago and had a lot to learn in addition to my high school classes.  My school requires us to volunteer in the community to graduate.
I found out about CAPACES Leadership Institute from my friend Julizza, and I dropped by to see if I could volunteer there.

When I arrived, members of the community were painting a bright mural.  The muralist Juanishi Orosco excitedly said I could join TURNO and lead a team of high school students to paint part of the mural because of my experience painting houses.

Every day that I painted, I became more focused and more energized.  The team of students I led needed me and I learned how to be a good leader.  I found a place to be me.

As I painted the images of people planting and harvesting, I began to think about the lives of these men and women who work in the fields. I had just spent my summer in Oregon’s fields harvesting grapes.  I started to learn about the farmworkers’ struggle. I realized that when I volunteer for the CLI, my effort impacts the farmworkers I was painting – which includes even me.  Since the mural was completed, my responsibility has increased.  With TURNO, I am volunteering my time and my skill to create a better future for the farmworker community, as well as improve my own. 

So many are benefiting from CAPACES’ hard work.  I feel even better giving my entire heart when I see CAPACES giving their best to everyone else.  And that’s enough for me.”

We hope you can join Zesar’s effort and donate to the CAPACES Leadership Institute.

The lives of many students like Zesar are affected profoundly, and your support will sustain programs including TURNO, helping us as we step into our third year.

All donations are tax deductible.
Mailing instructions are below.

Donate Online

In gratitude,


Laura Isiordia, Executive Director
Zesar Reyes, TURNISTA

Mailing instructions
Please address checks to CAPACES Leadership Institute and mail to:
356 Young Street Woodburn, Oregon 97071

Join the conversation – Your voice is needed!

Please join our Facebook page to contribute your stories and stay current on issues and celebrations in our region.


    CAPACES Leadership Institute

Past Stories

10/2013 – Strengthening Our Team – Including You!
09/2013 – Youth Shine at Mural Unveiling
08/2013 – What’s the highlight of your summer?
07/2013 – Have you seen it?
07/2013 – It’s unanimous!


Strengthening Our Team – Including You!

From the Directora’s desk –

CAPACES Leadership Institute is proud to welcome our newest team member, Rosi Barker.

Rosi is a native of Salem, Oregon, and has spent more than a year living abroad in México.  Her passions include salsa dancing, enjoying the outdoors, and volunteering and fundraising for communities in need.

She is the new Director of Development at CLI, aiding in grant writing, fundraising, and communications.  She is taking the place of esteemed Jaime Arredondo, who recently transitioned to be PCUN’s Secretary Treasurer.

Rosi comments,
“I am honored to serve with CAPACES Leadership Institute alongside so many who have sacrificed themselves for the sake of others.  I look forward to providing our community with my experience in fundraising and communications, offering a smile and the assurance that we are successfully advancing toward our goal of equality.”

Welcome, Rosi!

Laura Isiordia, Executive Director, CLI

CLI Staff:  Rosi Barker, Laura Isiordia, Maricela Andrade, Dalila Ortiz, Abel Valladares

Join the conversation – Your voice is needed!

Please join our Facebook page to contribute your stories and stay current on issues and celebrations in our region.

Youth Shine at Mural Unveiling

Mural Unveiling Group

This past Saturday, over 75 supporters gathered to unveil the CLI’s mural. As has become a custom in our events, youth lead the activities. One of those youth was Jessica Gonzales who shared a testimony about her experience painting the mural.Here is what Jessica (14) had to say:

“About a year ago, I went to a meeting at a building named CAPACES. There was a mural to be painted on that building, and the meeting was put together so that we could brainstorm what to put on it. The most exciting part was that a famous artist came up from California to help us paint it. It was supposed to be a community project, kids all over the town were to come an help paint this mural. I was one of those kids.

A year later, my mom got a call from the director of the building saying that the sketches were all drawn out and ready to put on the walls. So one day last summer, my mom drove me to CAPACES, which I hadn’t seen in one year, and I started to paint little things. Like, bushes, flowers, and clouds, and I was getting tired of them. So I went up and asked Juanishi if I could start painting something a little bit bigger. So he let me start painting faces! After painting a couple faces, Juanishi let me start drawing some of the faces as well. Things like, their hair, their clothes, and also the items that they were holding. And let me assure you that it was much more fun than drawing bushes and flowers.

Over the next few days I got to know Juanishi very well. So well that one day he called me and my mom over and asked us to go and buy him a Chai Tea Latte at Starbucks. He stopped letting big groups of kids come and he asked me to come every day that I could. He told me that he was only letting certain people come and paint on the wall. I was one of those people. And I came everyday for the next two weeks. During those two weeks I became great friends with everyone that worked there. We all ate lunch together. We had an awesome birthday party for Larry, and we all got along so well. Juanishi started giving me hugs when I would walk through the door. I started to think of him more as a grandpa. He would walk us down to the ice-cream shop and get us all ice-cream. I was so honored that we were more like friends than anything else. Usually when you meet someone famous, they want nothing to do with little kids. But he was so kind to me. He never got angry with me, even when I would make mistakes on the mural. I didn’t understand why he was so nice to me. All I knew was that I loved being there.

By the second week, I knew everyone’s name. Even the most important people. They were all so kind, even if they did not have a big name at CAPACES. They all understood when I wanted to take a break from painting. Or when I wasn’t feeling up to painting that day. If I forgot my lunch, they would share with me a part of theirs. CAPACES was like my home away from                                    home.                                                                                                                                                                    Jessica with Juanishi

My last few days there before I had to go back to school were so sad, because I knew that I wasn’t going to be back for a while. Or at least until I got situated at school. I didn’t really work that day, we all mostly sat around and talked together. It was really hard leaving, but I knew that I would come back and help again, that I would see my other family. My home away from home. I love all of them so much, and I was so honored that I was able to work with them.”

Jessica Gonzales


Thanks to all of you for supporting us through this effort!

CAPACES Leadership Institute

What’s the highlight of your summer?

Antonio (left), Juanishi (middle), Maria (right)



This summer I had the pleasure to spend an hour with Maria and Antonio about three days a week while I drove them from Salem to Woodburn so they could have the opportunity to paint a mural that tells their story.

It’s been the highlight of my summer.

Antonio (15) and Maria (16) are brother and sister. They live in Salem, Oregon, but are originally from a small village in Michoacan, Mexico known as Los Reyes (The Kings).

Interestingly I found out we have a lot in common. Los Reyes is about a half hour from where I come from and like me, they
immigrated to Oregon at a very young age. They live in northeast Salem where I grew up and both our parents are farmworkers. They also pick berries every summer as I did at their age and finally, they go to McKay High, the school I graduated from.

Like me at that age, they have dreams of going to college. Maria wants to be the first in her family to go to college and would
like to be an artist. Antonio, who won a writing contest in middle school, wants to be a writer.

Today on our drive to Woodburn we talked about their experience painting the mural. Maria said that initially she thought it would be boring and that she was just “tagging along with a group of volunteers.” Antonio chuckled and said, “I came because my sister made me.” But things changed quickly, after dragging themselves to come the first time with a group of volunteers, Maria and Antonio couldn’t wait to come again. “I really like coming here because I like you guys,” said Antonio. “What we are doing is empowering.”

“And what about working with Juanishi or sensai as you call him? What’s that been like?” This was my last question to them.

“Juanishi is a lot of fun. He has a lot of great stories. He’s like another young person, but he has the authority and respect from everyone,”—commented Maria.

“Juanishi is the only older person we have a relationship with. We have one living grandparent but he is back in Mexico and we never got the chance to get to know him,”—said Antonio.

Now we are just a couple of weeks away from finishing the painting of the mural. Who would have thought that the most valuable thing we were going to create was not just a mural, but true relationships. Thanks for the ride Maria and Antonio.


Jaime Arredondo

CAPACES Leadership Institute



Have you seen it?

Mural Kickoff

That’s the word on the street as the CAPACES Leadership Institute’s mural begins to take form.

On July 13th, the CLI kicked off the painting of its mural and celebrated its second birthday. The event drew fifty plus members from the community, many of whom were involved since the beginning of this project, nearly two years ago. Among those in attendance was Woodburn’ Mayor Kathy Figley. “This will be a tremendous asset to the Woodburn community”—Mayor Figley proudly pronounced when she spoke to the crowd.

“The story of the farmworker movement will be told in this mural. That’s my story. This will be something I will be able to share with my children and future grandchildren.”—Commented Alejandra Lily, a former farmworker and now Board member of the CLI. The event also capped off the CLI’s mural fundraising campaign. With your support we were able to meet our goal of raising $5,000 to begin painting the mural. Thank you!

Interested in seeing the progress we’ve made so far? Click here

Now you’ve seen it!

In gratitude,

CAPACES Leadership Institute

It’s Unanimous!

Mural Victory 6-26-13
Juanishi (left) and Jaime A. (Right) answer questions from the Woodburn Public Arts Mural Committee

“Is the mural accessible to the public?”

“Can you guarantee the mural will last a long time?”

“Is there a central theme to the mural?”

These were just a few of several questions the five Woodburn Public Art Mural committee members were inquiring from their very first applicant—The CAPACES Leadership Institute.

Last Wednesday, the Woodburn Public Art Mural Committee unanimously approved the CAPACES Leadership Institute’s application for a mural designed by muralist Juanishi Orosco. Representing the submitted application was lead mural organizer Dalila Ortiz, who was also joined by CLI Special Project coordinator Jaime Arredondo, CLI executive director Laura Isiordia for the CAPACES Leadership Institute, and forty-plus supporters in attendance.

Despite some concerns from a few committee and community members, the mural committee unanimously approved the CLI’s application citing the “thorough preparation” of the CLI staff and the lead muralist. The approval of the CLI’s mural application officially designates the CLI Mural as the first publicly approved outdoor mural for the city of Woodburn.

Juanishi, CLI Staff and volunteers celebrate mural victory

The passage of the mural contrasts past efforts from PCUN, the CLI’s sister organization, in their push to establish affordable farmworker housing units in the 90’s. “We were forced with a lot of resistance. I remember one city councilor asking us ‘Why don’t you just go home!’” recalled CLI Executive Director Laura Isiordia.

This time around however, the city applauded the efforts of the CLI and the farmworker movement led by PCUN, for championing a mural ordinance, “Where here because of you [CAPACES Leadership Institute] and your efforts to pass a mural ordinance. To leave here without granting you a right to paint would be an injustice,” commented one city council member who sits on the Public Mural Committee.

“The acceptance of our mural application is victory shared by the community. This victory signifies that we matter, that farmworker Latino community is an important member of this community. It also means that when we unite together in the “Si Se Puede” spirit, we demonstrate the political power that we possess,” remarked Laura Isiordia after the committee’s decision.

What does this mean for the lead muralist Juanishi Orosco? “I think the board’s approval has a very positive impact in the community in that it will open doors for other aspiring muralists.” said Juanishi Orosco.

Front side of proposed mural design. Mural painting will kick-off on Saturday, July 13th.

Although there is still some preliminary work, the CLI has set Saturday, July 13th as the official kick off date for the mural painting. July 13th also happens to be the Leadership Institute’s second birthday!

For those interested to volunteer in painting the mural, contact Dalila Ortiz at or (503)902-0756 Ext 5.

For those interested in making a donation click here! So far we’ve raised $2,800 of the $5,000 fundraising goal for the mural this summer. A 100% of staff and board have also pledged to donate, will you join us?

Help Us Paint History: CLI Mural Project


Imagine a warm sunny morning in Woodburn, Oregon where farmworker youth, community leaders, and community elders are assembling together around muralist Juanishi Orosco, a renowned Chicano muralist. Equipped with paint brushes, buckets of paint, rows of ladders, and their imagination, community members with the direction of Juanishi begin taking the first strokes of paint on a wall to create a mural that captures a segment of Woodburn’s history: the history of the farmworker.

Concept design for Street view of Mural designed by Juanishi

Imagine the laughter, the intermingling of multiple generations, ethnic groups, and civic leaders as together they paint a mural that honors the indigenous community, the early Chinese and Latino farmworkers who worked in the fields,  the farmworker movement led by PCUN, and recent events such as the 2012 election that reflects the power of the Latino vote.

Concept design for parking lot view by Juanishi

Now that’s a beautiful image, if not a powerful image, that captures the historical narrative of the farmworker community. It is essentially the image the CAPACES Leadership Institute (CLI) is assembling to paint this summer. And we’ve been determined to make it happen.

We led the campaign that changed the city ordinance last August to allow for publicly displayed murals.

We’ve identified the canvass, the exterior walls of the newly constructed CAPACES Leadership Institute.

We’ve chosen our painter, muralist Juanishi Orosco, who with over forty years of experience has painted murals throughout the west coast, including the iconic mural in PCUN’s Risberg Hall.

We’ve submitted our mural application and expect approval from the Woodburn Public Art Mural Committee on Tuesday, June 26th.

Now we need your help to make that image real. Our goal is to fundraise $5,000 by July 13th, the second birthday of CAPACES Leadership Institute’s incorporation and the official kick-off to paint the mural. The cost of the mural project is $16,000. We’ve already raised $11,000.

The mural, is more than a painting, it’s a landmark, an open history book that tells a story that we are trying to share to the community and future generations. Please consider making a contribution to help us tell this story. To donate click HERE!

Thank you!

In gratitude,


Laura Isiordia

Executive Director

More Than A Painting On The Wall


Back in the fall of 2011, leaders of the CAPACES Leadership Institute met with Woodburn city council officials for approval to paint a mural on the exterior of their building. Reluctance from the city to pass an ordinance allowing for publicly displayed murals led to a campaign that has since been known as the CLI Mural Civic Engagement Campaign.

Fast-forward to 2013–After several testimonies, the passage of a mural ordinance, the creation of a Public Mural Art Committee, and a mural design submission, the day the CLI has been waiting for has arrived: A vote by the Woodburn Public Mural Art Committee to approve painting for the CLI’s mural design (set for Tuesday, June 26th).

On the heels of an historic vote by the city to allow for the CLI to paint a mural that will stand as a monumental landmark, we’ve interviewed mural organizer Dalila Ortiz for her perspective on the campaign she has helped lead:

Q: Tell us about the Civic Mural Civic Engagement Campaign and the Mural Project?

A: The mural campaign was an opportunity not just to paint, but to bring the community to paint a farmworker mural that represents the community. The goals of the campaign were:

1) Paint a mural that would reflect the contributions of the farmworker community,

2) Work with farmworker families to engage the Woodburn City Council to change its city ordinance,

3) Bring in a well-rounded muralist in Juanishi Orosco, who painted PCUN’s mural, to paint the CLI mural and mentor for young local artists,

4) Foster a community building activity that would bring together the Woodburn community and facilitate a dialogue about farmworker contributions.

Q: What phase is the CLI mural currently in?

A: We are awaiting a public hearing for Tuesday, June 26th. On that day, we hope to get the Woodburn Public Art Mural Committee, appointed by the city council, to approve our application and the mural design we have submitted.

Once passed, we hope to have our mural painting kick-off on July 13th, which coincides with the CLI’s second anniversary as an organization.

Q: The CLI faced many obstacles in passing a mural ordinance, what was the turning point?

A: After the city dismissed our desire to paint a mural, we went back to the community. I had many discussions with families, where we received a lot of input and feedback. The community began to take ownership of the mural and the idea that it could serve as a narrative of the contributions of farmworkers.

Once the community took ownership, the city council began hearing swarms of testimony in support of a mural ordinance. I think the city council soon realized that they no longer held the views of the community and felt compelled to work with us in passing an ordinance.

Dalila (left) and Juanishi (right). Dalila has led the mural civic engagement campaign, that hopes aims to get city approval to paint a mural at the CLI. Juanishi, aims to lead the mural painting.

Q: Wow! Changing gears now, tell us about the design of the mural?

A: The design of the mural encompasses the elements of the surrounding community from the perspective of the farmworker. For example, the design incorporates the image of farmworkers picking berries and a woman holding tulips, a reflection of the existing industry in the mid-Willamette Valley. The mural also includes images from our past such as Japanese workers in the mid-Willamette valley pre-world war II and of the more recent image of Latinos voting in the 2012 election.

The mural also carries heavy symbols of education, emphasizing how important education is for the community, and tying the role of the Institute.

Q: Who will be involved in painting?

A: Juanishi Orosco will be the lead muralist, and will be accompanied by hand-picked painters to help lead the mural painting. Juanishi, as many may or may not know, helped paint the iconic PCUN mural displayed in their Riseberg hall. We will also have the community at-large to help paint the mural. We’ll have farmworker families, youth, and other leaders coming in to help paint.

PCUN Mural by Juanishi Orosco

Q: How can people help?

A: People can help by contributing their time to come down to the leadership institute and help paint. Generally we’ll be painting between 10:00am and 7:00pm. Another way for folks to help is by making a donation, to help us fund the painting. We’ll come out with more information on both soon.

Q: What does the mural mean for the movement?

A: The mural is a landmark, it portray the history of Woodburn through the eyes of the farmworker. It will raise-consciousness for people driving by of a history not often told.

Q: Finally, What does the mural mean for the community, and the families who worked with you to change the mural ordinance?

A: It feels like we, Latinos and farmworkers, are finally being acknowledged. That we are not a “hidden” community and it brings pride to know that our contributions to the community are being recognized. This project means so much more than a painting on a wall.

Coming soon… Mural Design unveiling…

Formal Education Meets Popular Education: A Test Drive for CAPACES 101


Ever entered a lecture hall anticipating dialogue, a sharing of ideas, values and experience only to receive… well, a lecture? This form of education is common in many universities across the  country, which explains why this past April many OSU students were in for a surprise as they arrived in Woodburn to participate (or take a test drive) in CAPACES 101, one of the CAPACES Leadership Institute’s (CLI) popular education courses.

The partnership between the CLI and OSU’s Advanced Spanish Coordinated Studies Program led by Loren Chavarria included five Tuesday sessions in the CLI’s facility in Woodburn and volunteer opportunities with CLI’s youth program TURNO, Radio Movimiento, and FHDC to name a few.

Popular education, often described as education for critical consciousness, has Latin America traditions that often targeted low-income and marginalized communities. The concept: rather than have top-down teaching such as teacher-pupil, we have peer-to-peer teaching initiated by a facilitator. The premise: that no matter what occupation, income bracket, and level of formal education, everyone can participate and contribute by drawing upon their life experience or through engaging activities described as dinimicas. CAPACES 101, a five-session, ten hour course covers:

  • CAPACES 101 Introduction, which provides an overview of the CAPACES 101 format based on popular education, which utilizes a facilitator, who leads discussion, draws from the audience’s experiences.

  • Historias y Logros or our History and Struggle, which provides a brief description of the history of the movement, from PCUN’s (Oregon farmworker union) humble beginnings to the development of other organizations.

  • Valores e Ideas Claves del Movimiento or Values and Ideas of the Movement, which provides the key values and ideas of the CAPACES movement and identifying what they mean to us and their importance.

  • Los “Ismos” or the “Isms”, which aims to uncover our own prejudices and offer tools to analyze the different isms and phobias such as: racism, institutional racism, sexism (machismo), and homophobia.

  • Riquezas y Convenios Colectivos or Wealth and Collective Bargaining, which covers the concepts of wealth, who possesses it, and uncovering our own personal assumptions. The class also covers the importance of Collective Bargaining in relationship to the farmworker movement.

“This course and experience was all around wonderful. It met our program’s objectives of our five C’s (Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities) as well as the additional area of
Consciousness.” Said OSU faculty member Loren Chavarria

 “It was great for the CLI staff to be able to connect the formal education with the world of popular education. I think everyone had fun and learned a lot from one another.” Shared Executive Director Laura Isiordia.

Our Claim to Fame


What started out as a vision by CAPACES network leaders to build a leadership institute in sustainable practices to mirror its principle in building long-term sustainable leadership, has finally received national recognition. The CAPACES Leadership Institute has received Passive House construction certification.

According to PHUIS (Passive House Institute U.S), the authority on Passive House construction certification in the U.S, the CAPACES Leadership Institute is the first school or training facility west of the Mississippi to meet Passive house standards and just the second in the U.S. Overall, the CLI building is fifth non-residential PH structure in the nation.

What’s Passive House? Dylan Lamar from Green Hammer, a Portland based design-build firm leading in sustainable building practices and architects of the CLI building, explains “The Passivhaus [Passive House] Standard is the world’s most advanced building energy-efficiency standard and it centers around three simple principles: insulation, air-tightness, and heat-recovery ventilation.”

What does this mean for Oregon and the Sustainable building movement?

“This is not just a milestone for Woodburn, or Oregon, or even the Pacific Northwest… it’s a milestone for the advancement of sustainability in the entire United States. It represents a forward-thinking approach. An approach that deeply considers the future our children will inherit. And I think there could be no better application than an educational building, where future leaders of the migrant farmworker movement will be trained.

What does this mean for the CAPACES Leadership Institute and the CAPACES Network movement? Laura Isiordia, CLI’s executive director, explains: “It means a lot! It means that the countless hours and materials donated by our many partner organizations, businesses, donors, and volunteers met a high standard. That we can now celebrate the fact that not only were we able to build this building with zero debt, but that our building meets Passive House standards. How many people can say I helped build a Passive House?”

For a complete list of passive house certified buildings, visit


Want to Check It Out Yourself?

You’re invited to take part in a special event on March 20th for the Tom Ruhl Scholarship Fund. Our special guest will be Former Governor Barbara Roberts who will be reading from her autobiography, Up The Capitol Steps. The event program will be held at PCUN’s Risberg Hall then move to the CLI’s facility for a reception and book-signing. Click here for more information:


A Report from CLI’s Director of National Initiatives, Larry Kleinman

As you read that title, I know you might be thinking…“Didn’t Larry retire?”  Or…“the CLI has a Director of National Initiatives?”Both good questions.  The answers are “No” and “Yes!”Let me explain and share some of what I’ve been doing of late.By the time I stepped down as PCUN Secretary-Treasurer in October 2013—part of our movement’s generational leadership shift—I was already deeply engaged in national efforts to build capacity and plan for implementing immigration changes (legislative or administrative) on a massive scale.

On March 15, 2013, I organized an implementation strategy meeting in Washington DC of leaders from 50 organizations—mostly national ones.  It was the first such gathering since 2007.  In the opening go-around, I asked folks to answer what I called an “ice-berger” question:  “Tell us about the ‘Oh Sh*#! Moment’ you’ve had as you visualized the potential tsunami of work ahead”.  A sizeable portion of the participants responded “I’m having it right now!”

Flash forward two years.  We’re collectively in the throes of preparing to assist many of the five million immigrants who may qualify for “deferred action” protection (once the appeals court clears the way).  The “we” is the three dozen organizations in the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (including PCUN and Causa) and the National Partnership for New Americans, using some of the planning and training tools developed at the CLI.  The “we” is also the Committee for Immigration Reform Implementation, a coalition of two dozen national organizations and networks which I have the privilege of co-chairing.

These days, I’m in town—in Oregon—barely half the month.  Since January 1st, I’ve crossed the country eight times—mostly to DC, New York and Chicago.  Should anyone question my “commitment”, please tell them that I was in Michigan’s 20-below-zero deep freeze during Oregon’s warmest and driest February on record!  (See photo from the training with leaders of Michigan United and other FIRM organizations.)

Seriously, though, I have no complaints.  This is what I signed myself up for and I’m not alone in feeling that I’m making an impactful and very timely contribution.

I still have roles in the PCUN/CAPACES movement but I’m definitely a “back-bencher”…and that’s the plan we made in November 2012.  I can’t sufficiently describe the pride, gratitude and inspiration I feel seeing leaders of our movement—Jaime, Brenda, Laura, Lorena, Andrea, and others—stepping up.

And CLI’s “national” work?  I’m thrilled to announce that this June, 32 organizing directors and lead organizers from FIRM organizations will gather at the CLI for three-plus days engaging each other about the dilemmas of “Making and Keeping A Long-Term Commitment” to social change movement work.  We first tested this CLI-developed method with a gathering at the CLI of 20 FIRM leaders in June 2014.  It proved so successful that those leaders are returning…and being joined by a dozen more!  Most have (or had) never been to Oregon and now they are—or soon will become—part of the ever-growing part of “CLI nation”.

Así Se Puede:  Thus We Can!


CAPACES Leadership Institute