OUR LEADERSHIP TEAM

VIDA’s Leadership Team is dedicated to resolving the HIV crisis within the Latinx community, where social stigma, poverty, language barriers, education, and access to care, deter testing and increase the infection rate.  VIDA’s Leadership Team realizes its mission by promoting health & HIV education, building networks with community partner organizations and leaders, and advocacy and awareness to mobilize an effective community response to meet challenges and eradicate health disparities in our communities. 

ESTEBAN DUARTE

President

Esteban M. Duarte was born and raised in San Diego, CA. He lives in central Washington, and often returns home to visit family. When not working as a Project Manager for an aerospace firm, he enjoys cooking and spending time with family, friends, and his dog Maui. He is driven to help others who may face some of the same challenges he did while growing up gay and Latino in Southern California. Honors he’s received in recognition of his work in the community include San Diego Pride Volunteer of the Year, AIDS Walk San Diego, and San Diego Magazine’s Latino Impact Award.

Esteban founded VIDA to provide LGBTQ Latinx youth with education, open dialogue, and strong role models in the fight against HIV, and that mission now includes a scholarship fund to support inclusive equality for all through the educational goals of young people. He believes that building on the progress that our community has made means helping young people know they’re not alone in continuing the tradition of working for change.

ABIGAIL SANCHEZ

Secretary

Abigail Sanchez was born and raised in San Diego. She started volunteering at the age of 14 for local organizations from the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Epilepsy Foundation, and other community events throughout San Diego’s Diamond District and Barrio Logan.

She has worked as the Event Planner for the San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for 3 years which has allowed her to build strong Latino community relationships.  She has earned a special commendation from San Diego City Council Member Marti for Community Event Planner for the San Diego Lowrider Festival and from Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher for Event Coordinator for San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

She loves spending time with family and longs for those warm summer days when everyone barbecues at her grandparents’ house – spending quality time with the family.

CAROL LEDEZMA

Board Member

I am an educator with 26 years’ experience in bilingual and dual language immersion programs, plus several years’ experience in media and marketing.

I strive to educate youth to be lifelong learners, to gain multicultural & social awareness, plus become biliterate, bilingual and bicultural. At VIDA the added task is to support youth to gain access to information on HIV/AIDS and good health, plus provide opportunities for higher education.

Education: Graduate of Arizona State University with a B.S. in Broadcasting; M.A. from San Diego State University in Telecommunications & Film; Bilingual Teaching Credential from University of California, San Diego

MARK DASSOW

Board Member

Mark Dassow lives in Chula Vista, where he was born and raised. He enjoys listening to music, watching scary movies, event planning, and hanging out with friends (usually at Urban Mo’s Bar and Grill). His immediate career plans include studying culinary arts, but he especially loves serving his community through volunteering.

He feels fortunate to have contributed through volunteering at B2 Creative Productions, a local LGBTQ arts non-profit, and to have helped various drag shows, usually Number One on 5th, run smoothly with backstage and set-up work, raffle sales, and accommodating artists and performers. Most recently, he produced “Pose for a Cause: A Benefit for VIDA,” a gala drag extravaganza.

In joining VIDA’s board of directors, Mark hopes to advance VIDA’s core mission of working to de-stigmatize HIV through awareness and outreach. He hopes to focus on informing individuals and stakeholder groups in the community about resources for treatment and prevention of HIV and other STDs. In addition, he intends to advance Trans rights, especially for the BIPOC Trans community, whose members still face disproportionate rates of violence and discrimination while simply trying to live their lives.

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