Over the past eight years, Mayfield native Ricky Murphy has given back to his community through his KY Raised Back 2 School Drive, which provides young students with school supplies and backpacks.
This year, he’s hoping some inspired youth will give back, as well, by showcasing their own talents — singing, dancing, reciting poetry — and hopefully continue to kindle a fire for future generations.
The giveaway event, set for Aug. 8 at Eddie Williams Memorial Park at Pryor and Water streets, will begin at 11 a.m. with the talent show at noon.
“We want to inspire youth to think about expressing whatever talent they have and show people what they can do,” Murphy — also known as “DJ Slikk” — said.
Prizes will be given out in two categories — high school and middle school and under. Participants must be enrolled in school and the acts cannot contain any profanity or suggestive material. The competition will be judged and winners announced.
Murphy said the main event is giving out the backpacks, but he said children have stayed around afterwards at Kess Creek Park (where the previous giveaways have been held) to play games, have some food or listen to music. The talent show gives them another avenue to have fun with the hope to continue it for years to come.
“Maybe some kid has a year to think about what they want to do and impress their friends and family,” Murphy added.
To sign up for the talent show, call 270-791-6269.
Donations are continually accepted to achieve their goal of providing at least 500 backpacks to local students, but instead of multiple drop-off spots as they have done in the past, they have set up a designated collector due to coronavirus concerns.
“It’s been different because of the COVID and people not be able to move around, but we can still maintain and get donations,” he said.
Anyone who would like to make a donation can also call 270-791-6269.
Murphy, who graduated from Mayfield High School and Western Kentucky University, is known for his KY Raised line of clothing. He is a teacher in the Jefferson County Public Schools system, and was named Teacher of the Year in 2014.
He said being able to provide some assistance for anyone in need is at the heart of this mission.
“It’s an honor,” Murphy said. “Having been a school teacher and as a kid I saw kids who didn’t have things and how that can affect your mind frame coming to school. If you don’t have those basic necessities, that’s a lot and something a kid shouldn’t have to worry about.
“If we can take that burden off the parent, even just a little bit, to where they can say, ‘Hey, at least my kids have what they need to have’ and worry about learning and not that they don’t have pencil or paper.”
The Back 2 School Drive and talent show will run through 2 p.m.