The Thrive Tribe was formed in the middle of 2012 when our founder, Julian Goldstein, went to the hospital with what he thought was a cold. He was diagnosed with HIV and felt very isolated and scared. He wanted to find people like him to share the experience and get some advice and maybe a compassionate friend. He figured this would be simple in a large city like Los Angeles. He went to support groups; which were unfulfilling, sought out services at local AIDS Service Organizations (ASOs), but it left him empty and disconnected. He knew that somewhere, there must be people who were living with HIV that were thriving and living a joyful life.
After one of these support groups he walked out, two people followed him and they went to have dinner. By the end of dinner they agreed to meet again the following weekend and they would each bring an HIV+ friend. The next week, there were 6; the next week there were 15; and the next week there were too many to fit in his apartment. They knew we had stumbled on to something big – the catalyst to their healing and a relief of the isolation.
What they could not have realized was how many would follow in their tracks. By the middle of 2013 there were 400 all positive members of The Tribe. About this time a staff member was added and the group exploded to 1800 members over the next 18 months. The group was formed into a non-profit, welcomed poz-friendly men to the cause, and expanded their social and educational outreach.
The first full year of operations as a non-profit, 2015, was a time of organization, fundraising, and an expansion of services. They opened the Connection to Care Center (CCC) in West Hollywood in July and assisted over 400 members enroll in complex government programs. TTF is one of the few Community Based Organizations (CBOs) in the State of CA to be awarded a contract to provide these services.
The future is bright as this young volunteer driven organization makes its mark on Southern California. They now advise on public policy and work tirelessly to point out barriers to care to numerous state partners, local ASOs, and CBOs. The New Member Orientation provides a safe one-on-one opportunity to access needs and share challenges and success stories. The programs are constantly improving and expanding as volunteers drive new ideas for engagement.
The Thrive Tribe bonds of brotherhood have helped hundreds in profound ways. They offer a safe space where people can be themselves without shame or fear… where they can be with their Tribe Family and THRIVE.