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.