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


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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

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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

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