blog header image

StoryCorps Atlanta Makes a Positive Impact!

Posted on Thursday, October 7th, 2010.

In 2010, HIV/AIDS is not as scary a diagnosis as it was in the early- and mid-eighties. Now, almost thirty years since the disease first became part of the public lexicon, HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence. In late-August, StoryCorps Atlanta partnered with Positive Impact to record stories of individuals living with and/or affected by HIV/AIDS.


Trevalle Ambrose arrived early for his conversation with Positive Impact group facilitator Rico Curtis-Davidson. He found out he was HIV positive on his 21st birthday. When he told his family that he was positive they, in his words, “just cut me off.” One year later, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia with his best friend, Devin Murphy. Three days after they arrived, Devin died. Trevalle was alone in a new city, grieving the loss of his friend and estranged from his family. With the help of Devin’s brother, Trevalle found the medical resources he needed. His spiritual journey, though, had just begun. Trevalle would face numerous illnesses – many life-threatening – battle drug addiction, and fight to regain his family’s love and respect. Looking back, Trevalle says, “I was a mess. I was a lost soul.”

Trevalle Ambrose and Rico Curtis-Davidson

Now, twenty-one years later, at the age of forty-two, Trevalle is drug free and healthy. He recently graduated from the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, is a minister for the Church of God in Christ (C.O.G.I.C.), and also does HIV/AIDS prevention outreach for his church. In addition, he sits on the Ryan White Planning Committee, and is the new chair for the Ryan White Consumer Caucus.

Trevalle speaks openly and honestly about the challenges he faced, and the obstacles he’s overcome, all in an effort to help others understand that their strength lies within and that nothing is impossible if one has faith.


A few weeks after our recording day, Positive Impact Founder Christopher Allers and Founding Executive Director Paul Plate visited the StoryCorps Atlanta StoryBooth to discuss how and why they started Positive Impact.

Paul remembered attending meetings in Chris’s living room about the needs for mental health services within the HIV community. After the meeting, Paul told a friend “I want to be director of that organization.” By 1993, Positive Impact was just a sheet of paper, Paul, and a donated office space. Today, in addition to serving the mental health needs of the HIV community, it also serves people who are dealing with substance abuse and homelessness and includes a strong emphasis on education and prevention. Chris describes Positive Impact as “an organization that deeply cares about people living with HIV, but also about ending (the HIV/AIDS) epidemic.”

2 Responses to “StoryCorps Atlanta Makes a Positive Impact!”

To preserve the StoryCorps mission and experience for our readers and participants, comments are subject to the StoryCorps Terms of Service. Comments may be held for moderation or removed if deemed offensive or off-topic. Please do not resubmit your comment if you don't see it right away, it will be approved as soon as possible. Thank you.

  • Trevalle Ambrose’s story is very inspirational. This story reminded me of how important it is to always have faith and hope. Mr. Ambrose’s story makes me realize of how life can be taken for granted and when things go wrong and unexpected things happen to never give up because nothing is impossible if you have faith. Mr. Ambrose had a serious challenge that risked his life, he was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS at age 21. Regardless of how serious the obstacles were, he had hope and faith and overcame HIV/AIDS. Today he is using his experience to help others by making them understand its importance of having strength but but mostly to always have faith.

    Comment from Wendy Andrade on October 12, 2010 at 11:57 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • after reading Trevalle’s story, I truly feel the spirit of how he fight with his illness. his positive spirit is the important support for him. Through Trevalle’s story, I learn that i need willpower to face to my hard situation. I also learn I can’t give up while i have difficult problems. Nowadays Trevalle is a successful person, because his guts, he deserve what he have for right now. From Trevall just found out he was a HIV positive, he never gave up himself. Instead, he try his best to face the problems, and also he has a plan for what he is going to do in the future. these are the improtant factor lead him to be succeed.
    After reading Trevalle’s story, I feel i just had a lesson. I understand I need to try my best on my difficult problems, and this is also relates to the life rule that i adapted from my fater ” try your best on everything,and dont leave today’s issue till tomorow.”

    Comment from xiaofeng Wang on October 8, 2010 at 11:42 am - Reply to this Comment

Leave a Reply

  • Major Funding Provided By

    CPB Logo
  • National Broadcast Sponsors

    CTCA Logo
  • National Partners

    NPR American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress
  • Charity Navigator Logo