(The Times-Independent)- After more than decade of leadership at the Moab Valley Multicultural Center (MVMC), founder Leticia Bentley is ready for new adventures, retiring from her position as outreach coordinator at the center on Wednesday, Nov. 15.
Bentley’s dream of a multicultural social services and education center began in late 1999 when she was a teacher with the Grand County School District. She said it became clear that there were immense needs in the Hispanic community — as she was receiving more and more requests for help from parents and her students.
“Leticia knew firsthand about these struggles having herself come here several years earlier from Mexico without speaking any English,” said MVMC Executive Director Rhiana Medina. “She quit her job with the school district to begin the long and difficult process of forming the [multicultural center] with the help of many good friends.”
In April of 2007, MVMC did indeed come to life after being granted an official 501(c)3 nonprofit status.
The center that Bentley and her friends created is now a thriving and active asset to the Moab community, particularly for marginalized and vulnerable populations. The center’s youth programs, crisis intervention services, life skills support and bilingual interpreters serve more than 2,000 people each year.
“Leticia’s background as an educator made her a natural advocate, a skill which is central to the MVMC’s vital work in the community,” Medina said. “Many clients still come to the center today looking for la maestra or, the teacher”. Leti has influenced everyone who has been involved with the center in many ways. She has taught me the value of advocacy, determination, and fearlessness. We will miss her, but I know she will always be in our corner and lend her advice and talents whenever she can”
When asked about her retirement, Bentley graciously thanked those who helped her make the center a reality in Moab.
“I would like to thank everyone who has helped me on my journey for all these years and those who have supported the center,” Bentley said. “None of this could have been possible without all of you. I am very grateful that I had the chance to get to know all of you. Muchas gracias a todos. As an immigrant I also feel very honored to have been able to contribute something to this community. I wish the center all the best as they continue with the work that we started.”
For more information about MVMC, go to moabmc.org or call 435-259-5444.