Latino Educational Training Institute celebrates its work and plans for bright future

LETI Founder Rosario Reyes grew the organization from the ground up to help people facing the same struggles she once had.
L-R: Edmonds School District Superintendent Rebecca Miner speaks with State Rep. Lauren Davis.
Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Patrick Moriarty appreciates coffee during the morning event.
Lynnwood City Councilmember Shirley Sutton (left) visits with LETI’s Director of Operations, Tom Laing (right).
“It’s going to take a lot more than numbers on a spreadsheet; it’s going to take dedication,” said State Rep. Julio Cortes.
Sally Guzmán (right) also serves on LETI’s board of directors.
LETI Director of Health and Wellness Programs Marisol Bejarano fondly recalls participating in a Spanish-speaking after-school group during her childhood.
The Nourishing Network’s Director of Programs Thame Fuller (left) speaks with Mountlake Terrace City Councilmember Steve Woodard.
Among those attending were former Washington State Sen. Maralyn Chase (center) and her daughter, Edmonds School Board Director Carin Chase (right).
Desserts were offered for a donation, including these carrot cakes.
Edmonds College President Amit Singh (left) has an animated conversation with his companions.
Marisol Bejarano (left), Edmonds Waterfront Center CEO Daniel Johnson (center) and My Neighborhood News Network CEO Teresa Wippel exchange ideas.
An attentive audience listens to Marisol Bejarano.
Jaime Mendez of Se Habla Media — which produces a daily news broadcast for Spanish-speaking viewers — was the event emcee.


LETI founder Rosario Reyes is all smiles as she chats.

Local leaders and community members gathered together during a Thursday breakfast fundraiser to support the Latino Educational Training Institute (LETI) in celebrating its work. The nonprofit organization offers over 20 programs to Latino community members, including nutrition assistance, vaccine access, computer literacy training, a children’s choir and occupational safety courses. The hearty breakfast at Lynnwood’s Embassy Suites was accompanied by commentary on struggles the organization faced, its triumphs in the face of adversity and its future plans for a new 16,000-square-foot facility in south Everett.

As a first-generation immigrant from Peru supporting 30 extended family members, LETI founder Rosario Reyes spoke about founding LETI in 1998 as a way to educate and support Latino immigrants. Reyes’s sentiments were echoed by other speakers with lived experiences, including Marisol Bejarano, LETI’s first full-time employee, and State Rep. Julio Cortes, son of agricultural workers from Mexico. 

Bejarano was one of many second-generation immigrants whose parents did not speak English, limiting their employment opportunities and access to knowledge. 

“Without LETI, I’m not sure if I’d be where I am today,” said Bejarano, who serves as LETI’s director of health & wellness program.

Edmonds School District Family and Community Engagement Coordinator Sally Guzmán spoke about the value of Latinos embracing and preserving their heritage.

“In school, I was never taught to learn and celebrate my culture. I was taught to assimilate,” Guzmán said. 

To learn more about LETI or donate to their mission, visit their website. 

–Story and photos by Jasmine Contreras-Lewis

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