imagePositive Impact already won our hearts with its mental-health approach to HIV/AIDS service. But if the way to your heart is through your sweet tooth, Saturday’s dessert reception is truly a recipe for success.

Parties With Impact is actually a set of parties with multiple hosts opening their homes to friends and supporters of Positive Impact. The gatherings Saturday evening culminate in a five-star dessert reception at the Granite Room catered by the highly regarded Affairs to Remember.

“It’s going to be awesome; it’s that simple,” says Michael Baker, director of advancement at the agency. “Last year, people were still talking about it months afterward, and it’s even better this year.”

imageThis year, the cocktail-attire event not only offers desserts of every kind and an open bar including champagne, the song stylings of Alexis Vear (bottom photo) and a preview of some pieces slated for the annual year-end ARTVision fundraising auction are also on tap.

“It’s a great way to reach people that we don’t know. The hosts already believe in what we do, and they have these friends that they can bring to meet us and learn more about how vital our programs are.”

While other AIDS agencies focus on the much-needed physical health issues people infected with HIV face, Positive Impact directs its attention to mental health issues that arise, not just for infected people, but also people affected by the disease in other ways, like caregivers.

“We know that if you have somebody who’s capable of providing care, they need good mental health, too, in order to have the best quality of life,” Baker says.

Positive Impact’s reputation for mental health programs is solid, and they have moved into prevention, again from a mental health perspective.

“We realize that there are issues that lead to high-risk behaviors in the first place,” Baker explains. “Low self esteem, societal values, self-hatred; there are so many underlying reasons for why we do what we do.”

The agency has also added an HIV testing facility that reaches people at risk. If they are infected with HIV, Positive Impact can refer them directly to counselors who can help deal with the news. Another new program is IMPACT, an intensive 90-day substance abuse program, followed by 90 days of aftercare.

“We’re the only substance abuse program in the state that specifically serves people with HIV,” Baker touts. “And we don’t kick them out if they slip. We help them get clean with their same counselor and they can go back into the program so it’s seamless.”

The 2008 Parties With Impact event brought in 150 people and raised approximately $11, 400, Baker says.

“It was through people’s generosity, paying more than the $50 minimum, all of the bartender tips go to the agency, and some large individual donations that got us to that number, but this event is really about expanding the agency’s recognition,” Baker says. “And we would love to surpass last year’s numbers as well, of course.”

Tickets are available online. Click a host’s name that you know to go to their pre-party, or click just for the dessert reception. Ticket donations at multiple levels are available at the purchase site so you can decide how much to give.

Project Q Atlanta is the exclusive online media sponsor of Parties With Impact, so you can also click the ads on our site to buy tickets and find more information on the parties. With all the good work the agency does in the community, we look forward to sharing Positive Impact’s just desserts with you.