Man's 'giving back' helps school kids

Titisha Melton and Jasmine Kelley prepare goodie bags for Sunday's book bag giveaway. - Steve Rogers/DTL
Staff Writer

A West Point native who left 16 years ago to get a college degree and then pursue a music dream returns to give back to his hometown.

And more than 100 kids benefitted.
Jason "K-Styles" Kelley, a rapper and the owner of Solid Grind Entertainment based in Hollywood, Fla., hosted a back-to-school event and book bag giveaway Sunday afternoon at Zuber Park.

With help from relatives on both sides of his family, he gave 115 book bags with school supplies, mostly for elementary-school-aged kids.

"It' something I've wanted to do forever, it's in my DNA, I guess. I started thinking about it really seriously four years ago, about where to get the resources, all those things.

This year I just decided to do it, even if it wasn't perfect. If we didn't just do it, it might never happen," Kelley said of the event.
"It feels good to give back to the community, to maybe provide a little resources that will help a family out.

And I hope it gives the kids a start, encourages them to do better, to learn, to pursue an education," added Kelley, who grated from West Point High in 2002, spent two semesters at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla., before transferring to the University of Southern Mississippi and finally getting his degree from the University of Alabama in 2008.

Sunday's event became a family affair with relatives on both his mother and father's side turning out to play music, hand out goodies, and clean up.

Six classmates from his graduating class even turned out.
"It was a real family affair," he said.
When asked whether a song might come out of the event, he laughed, emphasizing it was meant to be fun for the kids.

"I just wanted to help, I love music, but I love giving back, too. That's what this was all about," stated Kelley, who said he rapped as a teenager and in college but didn't focus on music until after he graduated from Alabama.
As for next year, he's already looking forward to it. And he hopes other people will take up the idea either to help with school or other causes.

"We are definitely going to try to do it next year. We learned a lot, we are going to try to get more help so we can help even more kids. We want to encourage others," he concluded.