There is a quote that says “sometimes miracles are just good people with kind hearts.” This quote speaks to the essence of Gerard and Karen Iglesia, founders of PrimeTime 585 who graciously shared some of their precious time with me for an interview.
When Anthony, the older son of this couple, who is a fierce basketball player, was in high school playing basketball at McQuaid, he received a lot of spotlight and love from the media. Karen thought about what about those other kids who are contributing to the team in their own way, where is the love and spotlight for them? Gerard, being a former coach also recognized the value and importance of highlighting the skills and gifts of all players. So this Ted Lasso couple of positivity wanting to recognize other student athletes for their contributions began PrimeTime 585. Karen and Gerard were passionate about wanting to give other kids, and the parents of these kids, that moment of shine. As Karen said “we want to love all over these kids.” So Primetime 585 began. This caring couple began to cover sporting events, they began by covering basketball, posting on social media, highlighting a variety of athletes with what they brought to the game. Quickly students began to follow them on social media, then parents, coaches, athletic directors, principals, and people like me who gravitated to their positivity, making it so they have over 3.65 million people who follow what they do. They understand that the little things make a difference. Gerard and Karen see their platform as “student driven.” Karen, who is a Black woman, and Gerard, who is Puerto Rican, keep it real with the kids. Mental health, race, and any other issue is on the table to be talked about.
“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” Mother Teresa
Karen was raised in Jamaica by her maternal grand aunt, Nurse Edna Mitchell, who was called “The Moses Of Springfield.” When Karen’s mother was barely a teenager she became pregnant with Karen. Karen’s mother continued with her education to become one of the first Black pharmacists in Rochester while Karen’s maternal grand aunt raised Karen. “The Moses of Springfield” was the ONLY RN, Baptist Minister, in a 10 mile radius in the country mountains of Springfield. This fierce doer of good did it all. She delivered babies, gave polio vaccinations, taking care of the entire village. Karen’s grand aunt took all sorts of people into her home, including boys, to help raise them. In Jamaica in 6th grade if you are a boy and do not pass a test to move on academically or you do not have the funds your education will stop. Paying for education, feeding, clothing, and showing them love. That’s how her grand aunt treated others. Karen said she grew up with the “out of many one people” belief and that is how she lives her life. To help and support others.
When Karen met Gerard she was 21, he was 34. He said to her “I don’t have any lines, I am just a nice guy.” As they talked she noticed how kids were coming up to talk to him. The kids he taught or coached wanted to talk to this kind, gentle caring man. Even though Karen did not give Gerard her phone number that day, it struck her how these kids respected him. How they sought him out. Love to infinity and beyond is the combination of the love and kindness this couple brings to our world.
“I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way, show them all the beauty they possess inside.” Linda Creed/Michael Masser
For years Karen and Gerard have been helping others with their kindness. They have had friends of their son Anthony live with them along with providing food and clothing for people in need. PrimeTime 585 is the only platform that brings together city kids, suburban kids, Black and White kids, rich and poor. Currently they are focusing on feeding 2000 people at Thanksgiving with an “adopt a family.” Karen shared that it has been the student athletes reaching out to her about adopting families. These kids are taking charge in getting their coaches and parents to help families out. Karen and Gerard see the Rochester community as very giving. They know the majority of people want to give back. They honor that these kids are leading the charge of kindness and helping others.
“To the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world.” Dr. Seuss
Karen and Gerard take this responsibility of what they are doing in a thoughtful, serious manner. They have added in covering additional sports such as football games, despite Karen’s concerns of how to style her cold weather gear, along with live interviews with the student athletes. Providing these kids a chance to shine and talk about who they are beyond the sport. Karen, who sleeps only 3-4 hours a night, stays up responding to all messages she receives from kids. If she has concerns about a kid she will find their parents or coach to help them. Gerard who laughingly says he is awake 3-4 hours a day will reach out and check in on kids he knows. If they see a social media post that is concerning he will message them to check in. If they do not know something they will find someone who does. Karen sees what they are doing as easy. They are appealing to the goodness of people. They are giving others the opportunity to shine.
“I was raised to believe there’s enough sun for everyone.” Tracee Ellis Ross
Gerard and Karen with a love story going 27 years strong do all this despite the fact that Gerard goes a few times a week for dialysis. He has been on the waiting list for five years for a kidney transplant and they both feel he will receive one soon. Karen owns the Primetime Learning Academy which provides tutoring support. Their faces light up when they talk about their sons Allen and Anthony. They have such pride that Allen and Anthony are their own people who care about others. One of the many things that touched my heart in talking with Geard and Karen is their genuine effort to put the shine on others, especially our kids. Giving back to the community is who they are. Recently an anonymous good samaritan reached out to them willing to fund PrimeTime585 to become a non-profit. Giving them an opportunity to do more, to help more, to bring more kindness and love to this world.
Gerard and Karen Iglesia of PrimeTime 585 we proudly shine our Kindness Champion Spotlight on you. Your loving on our kids has created ripples that have touched the hearts of many. You have created connections of Black and White, rich and poor, city and suburbs making Rochester and the surrounding areas stronger. Giving kids the voice and platform to be agents of positive change. As the quote says “good players inspire themselves, great players inspire others” y’all inspire all of us to be better people. Thank you for bringing your awesome love and care to this world.
To learn more about Primetime 585 here is their information:
Twitter: Primetime Ballers @PrimetimeBall_
Facebook: @Primetime Ballers
To participate in the Primetime585 adopt a family Thanksgiving Program you can contact them via social media. Their Venmo is: @Primetime585 if you wish to donate money for this wonderful initiative.