The Business of the City: Miscellaneous

Monday, June 24, 2013

Together As One - Community-Building in Plainfield

L to R: Michael Simmons Jr., Kcory Woltz, Hampton Pringley, Nigel Townsend, Lionel Leach, and Chinedum Ehiobouche.
 I was one of the honorees this past Saturday at "The Harvest," The First Annual scholarship Celebration of the Together As One Foundation (TAOF). The cocktail hour, with cool beverages and wine, took place in the main area of It's A Wrap Cafe, where folks gathered to meet, chat,and much on the delicious hors d'oeuvres and crudites made by Chef David. I met the families of the young scholarship recipients--all were beaming with pride. 

Reb with Fire Chief Frank Tidwell

Several Plainfielders came out in support of the event, including Fire Chief Frank Tidwell, Councilman Cory Storch, several members of the Plainfield-based Youth Organization for Unity, whose tickets were sponsored by Councilman Adrian Mapp, and several educators, past and present. 


Mrs. Dorothy Henry with Baron Hilliard
A special delight to Baron Hilliard, one of the founders (along with Andrea Woody of AW Financial Solutions, Michael Chisholm, and Tsihai Hanson), was the presence of Mrs. Dorothy Henry, the former principal of Woodland Elementary School, which he attended--he told a wonderful story about growing up in Plainfield with supportive and vigilant neighbors like Mrs. Henry, who was more than an educator, but also a deeply community-minded woman. 

Reading the City Council resolution

After cocktails, we headed downstairs to the banquet hall for the formal aspect of the evening. After introductions and brief remarks by the TAOF founders, the honorees (David T. Holmes, Okang McBride, Greater Jack and Jill of Union County, along with yours truly) accepted our awards. I also read the Plainfield City Council Resolution which was adopted by the unanimous council to commend and congratulate TAOF. 

Baron, Michael, Lawrence Hibbert, Tishai, and Andrea
Additional certificates were given to the mentors of the young scholars for their hard work and dedication. The keynote speaker, Lawrence Hibbert of BCT Partners, fired up the audience was a dazzling speech focused on empowerment and perseverance, and then we came to the high point of the evening, which was the awarding of the scholarships. 

The young men, Chinedum Ehiobouche, Lionel Leach, Hampton Pringley, Michael Simmons Jr., Nigel Townsend, and Kcory Woltz, graciously accepted their scholarships and took the TAOF pledge which, in part, spoke to remaining focused on their studies, maintaining relationships with their mentors, and keeping the "village" concept in the forefront of their minds, in terms of being models to the next generation. 

The entire audience then came together and we recited a pledge of support to these young people. It was a wonderful moment, and many in attendance were deeply moved. The fun then continued with the tricky tray, door prizes, and desserts. It was a blast the entire time, and the success of this year's event will produce even greater things next year.

All best,


Photos courtesy of Mike of EG Photography


  1. Congratulations to these young citizens!! Such a nice story!


    1. Yes, in spite of all the other stuff, good things do happen in our city. These young guys were very sweet and humble.

  2. Congratulations to all!!! What a wonderful story about our great city. The future looks bright and we all need to get involved.

    Bob Bolmer


    1. Yes, the more residents we have involved in all aspects of Plainfield--civic, cultural, and educational--the better our city will be. In addition to these young men, several members of the Youth Organization for Unity (Y.O.U.) came out in support with tickets donated by Adrian Mapp. You are right, Bob--the future FINALLY looks bright!

  3. Pat Turner KavanaughJune 25, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    Rebecca: do you know about the PHS "Clearinghouse" for scholarships and awards? It has received no ink - either on paper or in blog pixels. Participating organizations set criteria which are distributed to all PHS seniors. They submit applications. The group - I know about FOSH - typically receives about 30 for our $500 award for volunteer service and academic success. Our committee picks five or six for interviews. We talk to these youngsters - usually poised, polite and bright. All Clearinghouse participants use this process. FOSH chooses two - one for the FOSH $500, one for Netherwood Heights Neighbors $500. Maybe there could be a City Council award for civic involvement? Or a New Dems'? Or a RDO? Or a Second Ward? The PHS kids deserve our support - boy or girl. We have a year. Let's all volunteer.

  4. I don't see the mayor in any of these photos--was she there!

  5. What a noble cause. I am sorry I missed this uplifting and giving ceremony. I applaud all those involved and share in the alacrity of the achievements of these young men. I will do my part and pledge my support.