Sudbury·LIVING LIBRARY

Living Library 2018: Jose Vivar

For Jose Vivar, violence was an everyday part of life growing up in Toronto. He started selling drugs and joined a gang when he was just a teenager, rising through the ranks until he was arrested in 2007.

CBC Sudbury featuring survivors in Living Library event

Jose Vivar went to prison for several years for his involvement in the drug trade and survived an attempt on his life after his release. He is one of the guests at CBC's Living Library on Saturday, Oct. 27. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

For Jose Vivar, violence was an everyday part of life growing up in Toronto.

He started selling drugs and joined a gang when he was just a teenager, rising through the ranks until he was arrested in 2007.

In prison, Jose reinvented himself. He learned to be more positive and look at the bright side of life. He also turned to fitness and became a personal trainer.

After he was released, Jose started working at GoodLife Fitness and offering free fitness classes. He was leading one of these classes when he was shot five times by a hitman.

Jose eventually recovered from his injuries and now runs 25/7 Fitness, a non-profit gym in Sudbury that promotes free and accessible fitness.

Prison taught me resiliency skills. But on top of that it made me a survivor. That it doesn't matter where I find myself in life — I have to be grateful for my life, my freedom and my health.- Jose Vivar
He was making millions as a drug lord in Toronto, then he spent time in prison and was eventually shot by a hitman, but Jose Vivar has turned his life around. He's one of our guests at this year's Living Library event coming up at the South End branch of the Greater Sudbury Public Library on October 27th. The theme is survivors. Jose Vivar told us his story in more detail. 8:16

Meet Jose at CBC Sudbury's Living Library. The event is being held in partnership with the Greater Sudbury Public Library. This year's theme is "Survivors."

The event is taking place Saturday, Oct. 27 at the South End Public Library at 1991 Regent St. between 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Jose Vivar is an ex-drug dealer, and ex-gangster, and an ex-inmate. After serving time in prison for his crimes, he created a fitness business to create a new life. However, only months after his release, he was shot 5 times. 0:59

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