January 24, 2013 (Orlando, FL) — Ever since Orlando Community News launched online(May 2011), people have been spotted often around town working, trying to make a difference in the Pine Hills community.
Take Kelvin L. Cobaris, newly appointed senior pastor of Livingston Street Church of God and community leader. And take Michael Kimbrough, president-founder of Shine Performing and Creative Arts and founder of the Pine Hills Community Performing Arts Center.
While there are many people working in the community, these two men have been selected for their noticeable, relevant service, as Orlando Community News’ first “Pine Hills Heroes.”
Pine Hills Heroes, a new feature on OCN online, shines a spotlight on people working tirelessly in the trenches to build up the Pine Hills community. It is an occasional honor here on OCN online, with a goal of celebrating those who have done great things for the people in the community, while motivating others to get involved. In church, we would say we are giving folk their flowers while they live, so they can enjoy them.
Cobaris, a Orlando native, must be one of the hardest working pastors in Central Florida. There’s not enough space here to list all of his accomplishments but we’ve seen him everywhere, preaching at special programs, spearheading gas giveaways with his church members in the heart of Pine Hills, hosting crime prevention events with other community leaders and lending his voice to express the views of the people in congressional redistricting meetings downtown.
Cobaris, a bishop in the Church of God organization, has been known to walk the streets of Pine Hills, talking with people to get them some help – whether spiritual or natural – like food, clothing, shelter and education. Much of this has been accomplished through the Empowerment Ministries Church, which Cobaris founded in October 2005 near the corner of Pine Hills and Silver Star roads (behind McDonald’s). Many young people and others from the neighborhood have turned their lives around with the help of the ministry. Bishop Cobaris recently merged Empowerment with the Livingston Street Church of God—the church where he received his training. Together, he and his spiritual father, Bishop Thomas E. Chenault, are working towards making an impact in the kingdom and community through care and commitment. Cobaris, named senior pastor to the Livingston Street church on the first Sunday of this year, is married to Diedra L. Cobaris, also an ordained minister. They have one child, Kelsey.
Our second hero, Michael Kimbrough, is the founder and executive director of the Pine Hills Community Performing Arts Center. Kimbrough, originally from St. Louis, is also an ordained minister and community leader. Although his background is in information technology, he has been involved with community activism and leadership for more than 14 years. In a recent interview, he said he started the performing arts center because he loves creativity and he wanted to showcase the creativity, especially of young people, in Pine Hills. It was just dying on the streets, he said.
Since he moved to the area (more than 10 years ago), he has mentored young men at the 33rd Street Jail complex and worked to keep Evans High School open and rebuilt at its current location – in the heart of the community. He also helped spearhead crime-fighting movements such as “Stop the Killing. Start Living. Choose Peace.” Those efforts helped in finding the guys involved with the shooting of then 15-year-old Danielle Sampson last year in Pine Hills. (An innocent bystander, Danielle is still recovering from the incident). Kimbrough and his wife Barbara have an adopted son, Nathaniel Young. Kimbrough is also the founder and pastor of the Church at the Center.
Editor’s note: Congratulations to both Bishop Cobaris and Pastor Kimbrough. Thank you for all that you have done and are doing. While we know you don’t work for the “spotlight” (man’s recognition) but for a higher calling, we still want to say “THANK YOU!” To our readers and supporters: If you have noticed someone deserving of this honor – who has worked hard in our coverage area in recent years or months, contact Trish Martin here at Orlando Community News. Coverage area: Pine Hills, Orlo Vista, Metro West, Lockhart and Rosemont. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
© Orlando Community News, 2013