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CAPACES Leadership Institute has a new development director after Jaime Arredondo transitioned to neighboring PCUN to be its secretary-treasurer.by: SUBMITTED - Rosi Barker started working as development director at CAPACES Leadership Institute in October.

Rosi Barker, who started in October, is a native of Salem, having graduated from McNary High School and gone to college alongside Arredondo at Willamette University. There, she majored in rhetoric and media studies and minored in Spanish.

“I have no Spanish background, but I was compelled to study the language and also the culture and values,” she said.

Being drawn to the Hispanic culture, Barker has spent more than two years abroad, mostly in Mexico and South America.

“I moved to Ecuador and taught English for $4 a week,” she recalled.

Through her travels, she invented the Passport Pocket, which holds important documents and clips onto one’s pants while traveling.

“It was imagined out of necessity while I was backpacking Colombia and Ecuador,” she said.

Barker is no stranger to Woodburn, having worked at Washington Elementary as an after-school tutoring coordinator.

“I canvassed much of Woodburn and spoke with families of students to enroll them in free tutoring,” she said. “I loved this position.”

But she was hoping for full-time work. When she applied for an admissions job at Willamette, the director, unbeknownst to her, gave her name to CAPACES, which was looking for a replacement for Arredondo.

“It was meant to be,” Barker said. “I wanted a job that would be bilingual, Latino advocacy and active with the community.”

And she does just that in her position, working on fundraising, writing grants and also marketing strategies, such as website design and community outreach.

“There were a number of grants Jaime applied for, so I’m doing a lot of follow-up with those,” Barker said. “He has been invaluable during this transition.”

Barker has come to love where she now works and hopes to continue the great work that was started when CAPACES first opened its doors in 2003.

“I’m attached to what Woodburn embodies: the heart and soul of the Latino farmworker community,” Barker said. “Everything we see here is amplified on a national level. What excites me about this job is that I love what I physically do, from photos to the website, using that creative side. But I also love the people. Everyone I work with has made a personal sacrifice on a larger scale than I cannot comprehend. I couldn’t be more honored and proud to work and serve with this staff and community.”

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