Jefferson Awards: Karen Iglesia empowers student athletes across Section V

ROCHESTER, N.Y. It’s a Saturday afternoon and Webster Thomas is hosting Edison Tech in girls flag football. After the game, the excitement on the field spills over to the sidelines. It’s because Karen Iglesia is here.

Ask any high school athlete in Section V if they know who she is. She’s become a celebrity to students and the face of Primetime 585, a non-profit organization she and her husband Gerard founded in 2021.

Karen Iglesia: “Kids just want to be seen. That’s all they want. And we provide a platform, an outlet where they can be seen. They can be heard and it’s their own.”

She’s everywhere, covering games in all the high school sports in the region and interviewing the athletes after their game or match is over.

Ellie Bergin, Pittsford student: “They’re kind of bringing awareness to all the sports and I think it’s really awesome. And the amount of time they dedicate to going to all the games, it’s awesome.”

She then posts those interviews and game highlights to her social media accounts. On Twitter, Primetime 585 has more than 11,000 followers. On Instagram, it’s more than 17,000. Most of them are students.

While highlighting high school sporting events may be what made her relevant to teenagers she has found a way to use sports to accomplish something much bigger. She’s empowering student-athletes to embrace service and action while building relationships that bridge cultural, economic and geographic barriers.

Karen Iglesia: “In a culture of social media, where everybody is on camera all the time, we just decided to make social media for good.”

She has used her social media following to organize free basketball and soccer camps. She has organized coat drives for inner city children, toy collections for the young patients at Golisano Children’s Hospital and adopt-a-family Thanksgiving meal drives. She puts the word out and the students get it done.

Karen Iglesia: “How important is it as a community to give back?”
Student: “It’s very important. It feels so good.”

It’s allowed her to build a connection, always looking for the best in young people and reminding them they can make a difference.

Learn more about Iglesia during a special program airing at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 3 on News10NBC.