Harlem Word: Vivian W. Kurutz talks about Harlem non-profit organization New Song Community Corporation

Editor June 29th, 2010

Vivian W. Kurutz wasn't always the director of the Harlem Center for Healthy Living (HCHL).  She started there by teaching yoga and healthy living workshops at New Song Community Corporation (NSCC).  Learn more by reading below!

Q: Tell us about the New Song Community Corporation and the Harlem Center for Healthy Living.

A: The New Song Community Corporation was started in 2001 by the New Song Community Church.  It is a not-for-profit community development center that aims to fulfill and show social justice and joy in the Harlem community.  We promote these ideas through our education programs, affordable housing units (at 119th Street and 8th Avenue), health programs, free computer lab, and adult ESL classes for the West African community.  With all of the changes in Harlem, New Song is not trying to resist it, though we have a special place in our heart to see long time residents thrive.

Q: How did you get involved with New Song Community Corporation?

A: I've been a member of New Song Church since 2001.  A few years later, I started doing yoga workshops for the church and community members.  In 2007, I teamed up with Pilates teacher, Sonja Herbert, to hold our first "Empowerment for Healthy Living" workshop.  Sonja and I are both interested in addressing the health issues that harm the African American community.

Since we were unable to teach the workshops together, I continued "Empowerment for Healthy Living" on my own.  The healthy living workshops and my yoga classes caught the imagination of New Song Community Corporation Executive Director Robye P. Wallace.  She asked me to create a health and wellness initiative for New Song.  She wanted to address family health in Harlem as well as the crisis of obesity that leads to cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and type II diabetes later in life.  Harlem Center for Healthy Living was started to focus on these issues.

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