Who We Are
LESTA, Learn English / Spanish Through the Arts, was created by Cyndi Turtledove in 2004, when she returned from 18 years of teaching ESL, Spanish and Theatre Arts in MEXICO (1986 – 2004). She integrated her university ESL Teacher Training students with her ESL Handicapped students in wheelchairs. Her student teachers at CAM (Centro de Actualizacion del Magisterio – Staff Development Center - under the Sinaloa Secretary of Public Education) produced 7 original ESL shows with these Handicapped students, receiving many wonderful articles in Mazatlan newspapers.
'ACTION GAMES… 101 Fun Ways to Learn English Grammar' - Cyndi’s action oriented Conversation ESL games book, was published in 1993- 2004 in Mexico D.F. by Editorial Delti, and has been used throughout Mexico by ESL teachers there, as well as in language programs to teach Spanish, French and German in D.F. ISBN#: 968-6820-14-0. Visit Website >>
Upon Cyndi’s return to Oregon in 2004, she founded the Bilingual Theatre Club in Cornelius, with students from Echo Shaw and Cornelius Elementary schools performing in the free space donated to her by Sabino Sardineta at the Centro Cultural in Cornelius. In 2004-2005 she wrote and produced "A Cornelius Christmas Posada", and "Ardillas Mias – A Squirrel’s Tale" there.
In 2006 Cyndi began to base the LESTA Bilingual Musical Theatre program of classes at THPRD’s Cedar Hills Rec Center in Beaverton. And in August 2007, LESTA received its IRS NON-PROFIT status. Working with children ages 6-11 Cyndi wrote and produced "La Trompa del Elefante", "Hotel Buena Vista", "Los Cangrejos", "Los Gatos", "Sponge Bob y Los Vaqueros en España", and "Ardillas Mias - A Squirrel's Tale", for school year + summer camp courses.
Between 2007 and 2010 LESTA Bilingual Musical Theatre classes and Summer Camps grew with a total of 26 Show Performances developed at Barnes, Mooberry, Reedville and City View Charter Elementary Schools, Hillsboro Latino Adventist Church, Cornelius United Methodist Church and the Hart Theatre
in Hillsboro. New Bilingual scripts written by Cyndi 2008-2010 include "El Tesoro - The
Treasure of Sierra's Padre", "The Legend of Food Mountain - Leyenda de los Aztecas", and a special Theme commission on the subject of Nutrition: "Frutas, Verduras y Mas".
LESTA’s roots go back to Action Arts Foundation, a non-profit theatre organization which Cyndi founded in Portland during the 1980’s, where she as Artistic Director, developed alcohol and drug abuse theatre projects, receiving funding from the Oregon Dept. of Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Rose Tucker Charitable Trust and the then Metropolitan Arts Commission, to produce playwright Charles Deemer’s "The Genie in the Bottle" , a cultural history of alcohol use. Action Arts Foundation also created projects for The Chemical People and the Oregon Nurses Association unions. Other LESTA roots include Synthaxis Theatre Company (1972-1977),
Cyndi's first non-profit theatre company, with its unique "Theatre Tools in the Schools" program in the Pasadena Unified School District, funded by the then CETA federal government programs - Compre-hensive Employment Training Act, which took Theatre and All the Arts into Elementary, Secondary, and High Schools to assist the teaching of English, Spanish, Literature, Writing, History, Geography, Biology, and other non-drama subjects. Synthaxis performed in Scotland 1979 and 1980 at the
Edinburgh Fringe Festival - 3 shows each summer, and in London at the Unicorn Theatre for Children.
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LESTA works with 4 different types of Goals: Language, Artistic, Social and Community.
1. LANGUAGE GOALS
Two are Passive: Reading and Listening. Two are Active: Speaking and Writing. In her 18 years in Mexico, Cyndi discovered that students, of all ages, regardless of what language they were studying, had great difficulty with Speaking and Listening Comprehension. Even university graduates who had had 4 years of English language training were frequently frightened of speaking and/or had little or no experience with Speaking. Traditional methods of teaching a Language usually involve an extreme concentration on Reading and Grammar, a bit of Listening, but very little and very non-creative methods of Speaking and Conversation. The use of THEATRE – not just formal Theatre, but Theatre in all its forms – improvisation, games, writing, etc. tricks students into SPEAKING and they lose their FEAR of speaking while having fun.
Writing their own scenes, songs and raps helps students develop their creativity and relate better to the world around them, while learning the 2nd language. And the unusual use of both English and Spanish at the same time (frequently frowned upon) makes students of both cultures feel comfortable and as if they have something of their own culture to share. They see they are valuable and really needed to help others who are helping them at the same time.
2. ARTISTIC GOALS
3. SOCIAL GOALS
4. COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT GOALS
Cyndi Turtledove, Artistic Director
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Board of Directors is made up of Volunteers with Community Leadership, Artistic Skills and dedication to LESTA’s Goals and Activities. The Board meets 4 times per year, on Sundays, in January, April, July and October. We welcome new qualified Board Members You do not have to be Bilingual to serve on this Volunteer Board. If you are bilingual, that is an extra plus. Please come and visit.
Abel C. Alfaro, President and Hispanic Development Director
Abel is the General Manager of Aiden's Professional Landscape Maintenance in Hillsboro. In Mexico he studied the COBOL program at The Technical Institute in Mexico City, D.F. Later in Oregon he studied Computer Science 2 years at Oregon State University in
Corvallis. He is married to Carmen Arroyo, has 3 children, the oldest of which, Andee age
10, performed with him in our LESTA 2010 Fall Family Bilingual Musical Theatre show,
"SPONGE BOB Y LOS VAQUEROS EN ESPAÑA"and who is now performing in our 2011
Fall Family Bilingual Musical Theatre Show: "PIRATES of the FRIJOLE-BEAN" at the
Hillsboro Grange, Thurs. 11/17 at 7:00 pm 245 SE Third - en la tercera.
As an Account Executive 26 years for United Airlines, Barbara developed and implemented
corporate and community partnerships and projects. She has been a Facilitator and Teacher of Race Relations for 10 years, now with the Forest Grove, Oregon, School District. She
earned her B.S. in Speech Communications at Portland State University and has received
Community Service Awards from the Urban League of Portland and United Airlines. She
is a member of many community associations and alliances, including the Oregon Council of
Hispanic Affairs, the Oregon Symphony, the Jewish Federation, NAACP Rainbow Coalition and Portland Area Business Association. She is also a Board Member of the World Arts Fndn. and the Center for Airways Science for Kids. LESTA is happy to have her as Vice President and
with us to help develop and expand our Board of Directors.
Megan Mahoney, Secretary/Treasurer
Megan has a B.A. in International Business with a minor in Spanish at Oregon State
University in Corvallis. While obtaining her degree, Megan studied abroad in Santander,
Spain and also completed an Internship in Quito, Ecuador. Currently she is a Universal Asoc-
ate at Umpqua Bank in downtown Portland. In addition to her volunteer work with LESTA,
Megan enjoys volunteering with the Oregon Food Bank and Habitat for Humanity. In her
Humanity. In her spare time she plays dodge-ball and likes to ride her bike.
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