RAHWAY, NJ — It happens occasionally that, while covering an event as part of its journalistic duties, TAPinto Rahway becomes as much participant as observer. In the case of our recent coverage of the nonprofit organization It’s Kairos Time (IKT), it was less that we were involved in the events we were covering and more that we just felt so welcomed that we wish we could have stayed all day with the fine people of IKT and the Positive Black Dad Productions, the company that was filming the event.
TAPinto Rahway’s presence there that day was on the initiative of Dr. Loucille Black Hollis (who affectionately signs her emails “Dr. Loucille”, so that’s what we started calling her), who reached out to TAPinto Rahway to ask us if we might be interested in covering her organization and the scholarship event it was sponsoring.
It turns out that IKT was anticipating the announcement of one of its scholarship winners in September, so Dr. Loucille was planning to film some behind-the-scenes footage ahead of time and put together a video production that could be shown in September during a live “reveal party.”
The filming was taking place in one of the conference rooms of the Watt Hotel, downtown, across from the train station. Could TAPinto Rahway stop by and cover the event, she asked.
Well, of course we could, we said. Covering exciting events and, most especially, writing about people and organizations that are in the business of giving back to the community are some of our favorite things to do as the town’s local media outlet.
What is Kairos?
But to step back for a moment, what is It’s Kairos Time, we wondered, as an organization and what is its purpose? And, okay, we’ll say it (because everyone is wondering but no one wants to ask), what does “kairos” mean?
As Dr. Loucille explained in her initial email to us, IKT is her 2014 brainchild, “near and dear to [her] heart”, a nonprofit organization with a focus on “empowering women and inner-city youth.” She said, “In addition to other programs, IKT’s trademark program, launched in 2016, is providing annual scholarships to graduating NJ students.”
And while there is no particular residency requirement in order to apply, beyond simply being a resident of the Garden State, and numerous students from a variety of towns have been recipients, Dr. Loucille did make a Rahway-related comment that we couldn’t help but notice. She said that “[s]ince moving to Rahway, I have been attempting to garner participation from Rahway High School students.”
In addition to its college scholarship program, IKT keeps its altruistic hands in a number of other arenas and endeavors, including leadership development seminars, multi-generational and women’s conferences, and Bible studies and officiating services, among other projects and undertakings.
The “kairos” in the name of the organization is from Ancient Greek. It means something akin to the right, proper, or opportune time. It appears frequently, as well, in a religious or theological context, where its meaning is closer to “the appointed time in the purpose of God.” In a more mundane or secular sense, a pretty good paraphrase might be something like “The Time is Now.”
A Reveal Party is Coming
When we arrived at the conference room of the Watt Hotel, depending on one’s point of view, we either got there at exactly the right moment (Kairos, get it?) or not at all. We interrupted everyone’s lunch break. But no one appeared to mind and everyone seemed thrilled to see us. We met Dr. Loucille, her volunteers, the film crew, and some of the IKT college scholarship’s past student winners.
For example, we spoke with 2016 winner LaBrea Jones, from Ewing, who now attends North Carolina Central University. She told us, “The IKT scholarship has allowed me to pay for my books. It’s allowed for my creativity with my writing to develop too, because when I applied for the scholarship I included a creative element. It showed me that I could actually win something for my writing.”
Last year’s winner, Aniya Butler, was there too. Aniya is from Rahway (yep, this story gets better and better) and just completed her first year at Montclair State University. She said, “The IKT scholarship helped finance my first semester, as well as contributed toward books. It also just means a lot to me to know that someone so close to home was rooting for me. Dr. Loucille stays in touch with all of us. We couldn’t have an in-person ceremony last year due to the pandemic, but she actually came to my house to give me my medal and check after I’d won.”
We also got to sit in on much of the filming. Stephanie Lambert Kimbrough, the founder and pastor of Word of Promise International Ministries, was serving as the Mistress of Ceremonies. We had the opportunity to watch behind-the-scenes as she ran through her lines at the lectern, teleprompter running and film rolling.
This brought up another delightful feature of the afternoon: the production team. We couldn’t help but notice that the folks running the show, literally, seemed like one big family. And it turns out that that’s exactly what they are. We spoke with Stephen Council, creative director of the Positive Black Dad Productions.
He was there with his wife, son, and cousin. They started the company as a family affair last year in the midst of the pandemic, a fact not lost on those of us who started TAPinto Rahway under similar circumstances and with nearly identical timing. And just like everyone else we met that day, Council and his family were the nicest people ever.
We could go on and on. There is so much more to tell our readers about IKT, the 2021 Scholarship Awards, and the people involved, but we have to leave something for September and the inevitable follow-up article, don’t we? And, yes, we know who the 2021 winner is, but we were sworn to secrecy. September will be here soon enough.
All Good Things
In an earlier correspondence, our last before the day of the event, Dr. Loucille had concluded an email to me by saying, “Whatever the outcome, ‘God is working all things out for our good.'” I immediately recognized the reference and told her so. It’s Romans 8:28, the line that talks about all good things coming to those who work for God’s purpose. But let’s get it exact. It states, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
As I was saying my goodbyes and about to depart, Dr. Loucille thanked me for coming and said, “You know, I was surprised that you knew the reference when I said it, Romans 8:28.”
“I guess my grandma would be proud,” I said back.
And then we all started laughing.
All good things, indeed.