Vivian Cortes is on a mission: help young people get through the confusing, often painful process of growing up. She says, “Adolescence is not fun. We forget how hard it can be. But it’s a vital time in a person’s life, and not everyone survives it.” A Brooklyn native, Vivian came to Love Heals in 2007 with a decade of experience in sexual education with diverse populations, including adolescents, parents, formerly incarcerated men, women recovering from drug addiction, and Spanish-speaking immigrants. Vivian wears many hats at Love Heals; she is a health educator with the Love Heals Speakers Bureau, facilitated several cycles of LEAP for Girls, delivers parent-child communication workshops, and occasionally serves as a consultant on special projects.
Vivian is committed to combatting health disparities that exist here and abroad. Aside from her work at Love Heals, she has traveled to the Dominican Republic where she worked with The Institute for Human Sexuality and the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology. She is the Deputy Director and Co-Founder of The FLY (Fierce Leadership for Youth) Academy, an organization that addresses the disparities in higher education by connecting youth of color from underserved communities to professionals of color who have come from similar backgrounds.
Currently, Vivian is pursuing her doctorate in public health at the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College. When asked why she continues to make time to work with Love Heals, Vivian said, “Comparing all the work I’ve done in public health, Love Heals is always the most rewarding because of our different approach. It’s unlike other health education work. You actually feel the power in the presentation. It never gets old.”