When a very close member of my family was diagnosed with HIV, it shook up our family like nothing else had before. None of us knew very much about the virus and we were certain she was headed for an untimely death. She knew better, though. She’s a strong, confident woman who always refused to let anything hold her back. Her HIV diagnosis was no exception. She didn’t waste any time looking for the resources she needed to continue thriving.
It didn’t take her long to find the San Antonio AIDS Foundation (SAAF), a nonprofit devoted to HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, and to providing care and social services to people with HIV/AIDS. She immediately began seeing a caseworker there, who connected her with the resources she needed. Every time my sister came back from an appointment at SAAF, she raved about the people there and the services they provided.
SAAF stays with clients every step of the way. Whether they need a free, 60-second HIV test or more serious AIDS-related care, SAAF does it all. And it’s not just about prevention and treatment. SAAF goes the extra mile to ensure every one of its clients has what they need.
The foundation has an in-house kitchen that provides free meals to anyone in the community with HIV/AIDS, and once a mont,h SAAF partners with the San Antonio Food Bank to provide clients and community members with the nourishment they need. They offer skilled nursing and hospice, and have temporary transitional housing for clients who need a place to stay.
Living with HIV/AIDS is a challenge, but the people at SAAF make the situation easier by providing clients with care, comfort and a sense of hope. They did that for my family, and they do it for hundreds of other people and families every day.
When I had the opportunity to intern at SAAF, I jumped at the chance to help such an amazing organization. It was summer 2013 and I was an intern in the marketing department. I wasn’t working hands-on with clients or anything, but I had the chance to learn more about SAAF and what they do. I never stopped being amazed by the variety of services SAAF provide and the staff’s impact on the lives of clients.
What surprised me the most about SAAF was the fact that every year they host a huge party during Fiesta. I thought my internship would be all about SAAF’s services—the skilled nursing, the hot meals program, the clothing closet—but a large part of my job involved helping the marketing team plan for the “WEBB Party.”
For one of my assignments, I had to flip through hundreds of pictures from past WEBB Parties: people wearing crazy, colorful costumes, dancing and drinking; awesome bands, like the Sugar Skulls, playing live music; and performances by groups like the Austin City Showgirls and stars from “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
This year’s WEBB Party takes place from 7:30 p.m. to midnight, Friday, April 11, at Lambermont Estate, 950 E Grayson St. Tickets are $75 pre-sale or $90 at the door. This gives guests access to all of WEBB Party’s attractions. The cuisine tasting gives guests the opportunity to sample dishes from some of the best restaurants in San Antonio, including La Hacienda, Pat O’Brien’s, Zedric’s and Chef Steve McHugh’s new restaurant, Cured. There’s also bars and interactive activities, so partygoers can get pumped up before stepping onto the dance floor, which will feature tunes from DJ AMO this year.
For those who aren’t into dancing, WEBB Party offers a variety of performances by local and national talents, including a fashion show by local designer Agosto Cuellar and a dance performance by the Austin City Showgirls. This year there will be live bands performing that include San Antonio’s own Sugar Skulls and Mobley from Austin. As if that’s not enough, WEBB Party VIP packages give attendees access to VIP parking, early entry and access to an exclusive VIP open bar.
The best part is knowing you’re partying for a good cause. WEBB Party isn’t just a party, it’s also SAAF’s largest fundraiser. Every night’s proceeds go directly to funding SAAF’s client services. Offering so many services takes time, effort and money. If you can’t do an internship or volunteer at SAAF, attending WEBB Party can be an easy and fun way to show your support.
*Featured/top image: The Lambermont Estate, home of The San Antonio AIDS Foundation’s WEBB Party. Photo Courtesy of SAAF.