Back With a Beating Heart

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

Joining Hearts invites Atlanta to join their Journey of Love with a weekend July 15-17 packed full of amazing events. The main attraction – the much-anticipated pool party at Piedmont Park – is back at full capacity this year. Peach spoke to Joining Hearts board president Jerry Henderson about what to expect at this year’s pool extravaganza, aptly named When Love Takes Over, and what the journey has entailed for the organization.

Last year’s pool party was at limited capacity, but this year you are back in full force. What can attendees expect from the party? 

Joining Hearts’ Host Committee works hard to plan and execute such a large event that has sold out in the past several years. This year, the organization carefully streamlined its event to make it efficient and fun. Here is a little sneak peek into the event as you will be greeted by smiling faces and the Love Lounge for our VIPs, patrons, and sponsors, where we will transform the space into magical scenery that coincides with the theme.  

In years past, we had only the main event, but with last year’s success, we added a Tea of Hearts to the mix again, so we have three signature events for the weekend:

The opening event Friday, Falling in Love, featuring Liza Rodriguez, the main event Saturday, When Love Takes Over, featuring Enrico Meloni, and the Tea of Hearts T-Dance on Sunday, featuring Manny Lehman.

This is a party, but ultimately it raises funds to support Joining Hearts’ mission of helping those impacted by HIV/AIDS in Atlanta. Can you speak a little bit about the goals you have for this weekend?

Though great progress has been made in battling this disease, there is still more work to do in eradicating HIV/AIDs in Atlanta.

Last year was a huge success as we returned to the pool in a limited capacity because of COVID, and we as an organization are intentional in promoting safety. This year, Joining Hearts is turning 35! Our initiative this year is for our guests to donate just $35 for our 35th anniversary and reach a new milestone in our giving journey.

Joining Hearts has been fulfilling its mission since 1987. Can you share some of the incredible milestones you have achieved over four decades?  

This year is significant, as we have reached a milestone in our giving journey as a 100% all-volunteer organization that has donated over $2.7M since 1987. We have adapted our way of doing things as an organization by expanding our mission a few years ago to adjust to the current HIV/AIDS needs, including launching a new website this year. 

Our goal is always to take charge as the leading nonprofit that consistently does pulse checks to ensure we are addressing the current needs of Atlanta.

Looking beyond the Joining Hearts weekend – what do you have planned for the rest of the year? 

We have our Heart of Hearts in the fall: Back in Love, followed by our Wishlist: Love Is A Gift, where we do our check presentation.

If you cannot attend the party, how can you support Joining Hearts otherwise?  

There are several ways to get involved in the organization: volunteer, host, or become a patron or a sponsor, so we can focus on the task at hand by raising much-needed funds to save lives.  

Finally, how can eager pool party goers get their tickets for this weekend?  

They can purchase their tickets at